The power of one peace activist in Pakistan: Sail’s story

Have you ever been a situation you wanted to challenge, but did not know how? When you live in a violent, conflict affected area, the stakes are even higher. Yet here is the story of Sail, one young man who has changed minds and prevented extremism in his community.

Sail, one young peace activist in Pakistan Have you ever been a situation you wanted to challenge, but did not know how?

When you live in a violent, conflict affected area, the stakes are even higher.

Yet here is the story of Sail, one young man who has changed minds and prevented extremism in his community.

Sail is 19. He is a land surveyor in Swabi, Pakistan. Sail noticed that many youths in his village went to religious schools. He knew they were exploited by the Taliban and even received specialist militant training. Sail wanted them to lead positive lives, but didn’t know how to approach their very conservative mind set. He didn’t have the skills, the knowledge or the support.

Then Sail found Aware Girls. He took their training course and started working with them. He learned how to reach out to the youth and prevent more lives being lost to violent extremism.

Sail began to talk to the youth using what he’d learned about peace, human rights and religious tolerance. At first, some were unwilling to listen:

“Some understood my message and others ignored. But over time I had more youth coming to join me in the peace talks. With a small group of 15 youth, I made an organisation, ‘We Can Bring Peace’.”

Sail began to work with Mufti, a progressive religious scholar, who educates boys from the extremist training camps and explains the Taliban’s misleading teachings. He also included messages of peace in his Friday sermons.

Sail taught the young boys that all humans are equal and that violence is never the solution.

Thanks to his brave efforts, several boys have returned to their families with changed minds and six have even joined Sail’s local peace group. We Can Bring Peace now has 50 youth members who mentor students and organise positive activities such as cricket matches and coaching to keep them engaged.

Sail has also used his new skills to establish constructive community initiatives to combat violence and extremism. Working with the police, Sail has launched a Gun Control Campaign. Many people have stopped keeping guns, and shots are no longer fired during public festivities. Sail also created a Peace and Human Rights Awareness Program, which has been taught at local high schools since September 2015.

“It has been five months since I attended Aware Girls’ training on peace and I have been able to bring a considerable change in my surroundings.”

Aware Girls are able to reach young people, showing them an alternative to extremism. Their training courses enable young people to spread the message of peace so young minds turn away from extremism.

You can support other young people like Sail to bring about peaceful change in their communities by making a donation today.

Related content

War Stories. Peace Stories: a photo story

On 11th April 2017, Peace Direct was delighted to partner with Humanity United, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Compton Foundation, and others for the War Stories Peace Stories Symposium: a day of intense and inspiring discussion on the power of stories to end wars and bring about peace. We share some photos. Read more »

‘A Model for Truth and Reconciliation’: Reflections upon the Rwandan Genocide

This week marks the 24th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. At this time of remembrance, we reflect upon the legacy of the tragedy, and share our thoughts on the typically understated role of local agency in the Republic of Rwanda's remarkable post-conflict transformation. Read more »

March for Our Lives: Taking a stand for a more peaceful world

On March 24th, 2018, Peace Direct joined the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington, DC calling for common-sense gun reform in the aftermath of the Marjory Stone Douglas school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Peace Direct's Administrative and Development Assistant Christine Trillana shares her experience. Read more »

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *