Above: The Bearded Broz.
Every year on 21 September, the world recognises the International Day of Peace. Since 1981, the day has served as a global pause for reflection, a time to consider our world and the challenges we must confront in order to make it a better place.
The day also gives us a chance to think about our shared humanity – that, at our core, we care about one another, and want what’s best for those around us; be it our family, friends, community, or anyone in the world experience hardship. Because ultimately, we all deserve to lead a peaceful life, but many don’t due to the simple accident of where they’re born.
To celebrate the values of this day, we wanted to highlight a selection of Ummahsonic faves who are working hard to bring peace to the lives of our fellow humans.
The Bearded Broz
The Bearded Broz is a Birmingham based community group who collect food and provide it to people who have fallen on hard times. Last year, their 24-hour food back helped 9,500 families across the West Midlands. On top of this, the group collaborate with local councils to tackle littering and speeding.
Imran Hameed, one of the founders of Broz, explained what motivates him to help people: “It’s a part of our religion. A Muslim is not a Muslim if he sleeps at night satisfied while his neighbour goes hungry.”
Check out the Bearded Broz website here.
The E5 Bakehouse
The E5 Bakehouse, east London, is home to the Just Bread Project. The initiative gives newly arrived refugee women the chance to learn baking skills in the Hackney bakery. Along with developing culinary techniques, the classes help the women adjust to life in a new place by putting them in a setting where they can socialise, practise English and build a sense of self-worth.
In September last year, the Bakehouse opened a cafe with the aim of providing jobs to some of the migrant women who had taken part in the baking program. The hands-on, practical scheme is something to really admire. Many of these women have escaped real danger and fled to Britain in order to survive. And now that they have, the Just Bread Project gives them the chance to create a life.
Mohamad Al Jounde
Last year, Mohamad Al Jounde, a 16-year-old Syrian refugee, won the 2017 International Children’s Peace Prize after setting up a school in the Bekaa Valley refugee camp in Lebanon when he was only 12-years-old.
With the help of volunteers and relatives, the precocious educator established a school that now has 200 students being taught by professional teachers. With almost half a million Syrian child refugees living in Lebanon, Mohamad’s project is vital to bringing peace to Syria in the future.
Malala Yousafzai, who presented Mohamad with the award, put it best when she said of Mohamad’s humanitarianism: “As Mohamad knows, Syria’s future depends on its children – and their future depends on education.”
All three of the figures mentioned work to bring harmony, comfort and stability to people’s lives. When these qualities are present we feel peace, as we are no longer burdened by uncertainty or fear.
This International Peace Day, remember to look out for each other.