Stories

Greg Funnell

Stories of hope and progress from our work supporting local people to stop war and build peace, one person at a time.

Nearly married to a leader of Al-Shabaab: Sahra’s story

Sahra dreamed of an education and a peaceful life from a very young age. But when her father wanted her to marry a militant fighter her dreams were shattered. Faced with no other option, she ran away to a new city. But there her life changed. Now Sahra runs her a small tailoring business with three girls she met on a skills training course. And she is free to plan her own future, away from violence and fighting.

Stopping a suicide attack: Badar’s story

Badar* stopped a 15-year-old boy from carrying out a suicide attack after attending training run by our local partner in Pakistan. It saved the boy’s life, and countless others.

The bravery to escape the militia: Benedict’s story

Conflict is a normal part of life. Violence is not. This story is of 15-year-old Benedict*. Benedict was captured by a local militia group and forced to become a child soldier. But he knew this was wrong. One day, Benedict found the courage to escape. Now he is back home, earning a living and helping to put his younger sister through school.

“I do not have to rely on humanitarian help any more”

Two years ago, Fartun made the decision to take her three young children and flee their beautiful home. She knew if they stayed, they risked being killed by armed extremists, or succumbing to drought or famine. Despite this, Fartun’s life has been transformed for the better. With a new skillset, Fartun sees hope for her future.

Askiro’s story: how I rebuilt my life after war

Askiro fled conflict and violence in her home village, just to tragically lose her youngest son to poverty and malnutrition in another. With the help of a local organisation offering skills training and business management support, Askiro has turned the life of her family around.

Challenging the Taliban, one person at a time: Jalal’s* story

My name is Jalal* and I live in north-west Pakistan. It is known as a hotbed of militancy and extremism, where militants run the streets and bombs destroy lives. When the Taliban began taking over our area, I didn’t know what to do. One by one, I lost most of my friends to the Taliban. They were used to carry out suicide attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan and Waziristan, just across the border from Pakistan.

Promoting peace over violence in Israel-Palestine: Moody’s story

Moody is a young Palestinian who lives in Haifa, on the coast of Northern Israel. He is passionate about music, and a full-time rapper. Moody’s life changed when he attended a concert in Tel Aviv where he performed with both Israeli and Palestinian musicians on stage. Moody’s experiences reveal the power of Heartbeat’s work. In a context so often defined by stereotype and separation, Heartbeat’s music unifies people and allows them to explore the complexity of one another’s identity.