Friends Peace Teams to Asia West Pacific conducted the first Alternatives to Violence Project workshop in Nurussalam, East Aceh one week after the Peace Accord was signed between the Acehnese and the Indonesian Government in September 2005. After that we educated teachers and family members in North Sumatra and Aceh about Developmental Play as a foundation for recovery from war and violence and establishment of human development for people of all ages.
We have found the people we work with are encouraged and interested in the work in the U.S. to declare that paying for war violates our conscience and to declare that peaceful, conscientious living is possible based on individual, community and societal practices of discernment. We have begun to experiment with discernment as an organizing approach for our not-for-profit work. To learn more about this work, please visit the Conscience Studio.
We organize our work around people-to-people, community-to-community relationships, rather than around funds or programs. Whether one grows up in a war zone or is sensitive to the millions of people who do, some degree of trauma disrupts all our lives. Therefore we began to organize Trauma Healing workshops to grieve, mourn and support each other in healing. We also met many people who did not have clean drinking water or who were walking farther and farther for wood for fuel to boil water. To protect the people and the land, we embarked on an effort to design silver-treated, ceramic Water Filter production in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. The people we work with are very clear, we cannot make peace with each other without making peace with the land.
The film Silaturahmi: The Power of Visiting offers a powerful sense of the work of Friends Peace Teams in Indonesia, Nepal and the Philippines, through many voices. Silaturahmi means visiting. Muslims consider visiting, without agenda as one visits family or friends, mandatory for building and maintaining spiritual community. This resonates well with a Quaker approach to peace work, bridging among communities in conflict, Christians and Muslims as well as other international and local groups.