Stories of hope and progress from our work supporting local people to stop war and build peace, one person at a time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As a child Benjamin lost his family in the Burundian civil war. He grew up with anger and hatred, and at 12 years old joined a rebellion as a child soldier. At the beginning of this year, Benjamin attended a local campaign promoting tolerance and reconciliation. He sat in a room with those he called enemies, something he never thought possible. Now Benjamin wants to work to make Burundi a peaceful country, with opportunities for young people to thrive.