|Arshi Saleem Hashmi|
SAVE Chapter Leader in Pakistan
By Arshi Saleem Hashmi with input from Nafeesa Rahman & Husna Ihsan
Project Common Bond is an initiative by Tuesday’s Children, a partner organization of SAVE/Sister against Violent Extremism that provides support for individuals affected by the tragic events of 9/11. Launched in 2008, Project Common Bond brings together teenagers from around the world who share a 'common bond'--the loss of a family member due to an act of violence or terrorism.
Every year, teens gather for an eight-day healing and peace-building symposium where they engage in dialogue and community-building activities that acknowledge and respect their differences while promoting friendship and understanding.
Arshi Saleem Hashmi, SAVE’s Chapter Leader in Pakistan, attended this year’s event with two outstanding young women from Swat, a region that was taken hostage by Taliban fighters for many years. Nafeesa Rahman and Husna Ihsan lost their uncle to a terrorist attack and were relocated to IDP camps after their families’ were forced to leave their homes. When they returned to their village, everything was destroyed, but the girls were determined to go back to school and take on an active role in the rebuilding of their community.
|Photo by Project Common Bond|
It was an outstanding initiative on part of Tuesday’s Children to invite 75 young girls and boys from 15 countries to share a common bond of humanity with each other. From Pakistan, Nafeesa Rahman and Husna Ihsan took part in Project Common Bond (PCB) 2012 that was held in Boston from July 12-20. The eight-day conference was a great opportunity to meet young people from around the world and learn to better understand different cultures.
The participants were victims of war, conflict, violence and terrorism; and PCB was an opportunity not only to share their pain and grief with one another, but also moments of joy and healing. They all shared the common goal of working towards building a peaceful and secure world through participation in various activities and training sessions on conflict resolution and peace.
Young participants learned to work together in a number of ways: they conducted needs assessments, proposed ideas for projects, thought of creative ways to fundraise and designed their very own program. Some of the main themes discussed were social awareness, responsiveness, flexibility, empathy, caring, communication, humor and having a sense of purpose for the future, including having healthy expectations, goals, and orientation towards success. The participants also stressed on the crucial importance of young people’s involvement in the development of programs that shape policies affecting their future.
Sharing the common goal of rejecting violence and violent extremism encourages young people to stand united against forces that induce chaos, distrust and hostility to safeguard their vested interest. Most of the violence that occurs around us is due to misunderstanding and lack of trust, but this can change if we take the time to get to know other cultures, and hold on to the common goal of building a more peaceful world for future generations.
Click here for more information on Tuesday’s Children and Project Common Bond.