In Place of War

Imagine, people put creativity, arts and music in place of war and violence.

Imagine, young people learn by being creative and living their passion.
Imagine, people use their creative skills to develop visions for being artists, professionals and entrepreneurs.

In Place of War is a global network which goes beyond empowerment story-telling. They help people to create and live their stories of community resilience. Since 2004, they enable grassroots change-makers in music, theatre and across the arts to transform a culture of violence and suffering into hope, opportunity and freedom. Up to now, dozens of creative educational and performative projects in more than 26 countries around the world have been launched successfully.

In Place of War supports individuals or communities that have been affected by war, post-war, gang-war and political oppression. They:

  • create safe and technically equipped cultural spaces and art centres (like studios, theatres or galleries) in the most marginalized communities in the world.
  • have developed a creative entrepreneur training (CASE), designed specifically for conflict zones; more than 200 trainers in 18 countries have been trained.
  • curate international artistic collaboration as an antidote to violence, and they share skills, knowledge and hope. Over 1000 artists from 25 countries have been mobilized and created gigs, festivals, tours, collaborations and theater performances.

In Place of War-projects show how art engages people away from violence, enables freedom of expression and helps people develop positive role models. Arts centres create places of safety in conflict zones, offer young people a way to escape from everyday conflict, and provide spaces to develop alternative values and norms. Artistic collaboration breaks down barriers and give voice to the voiceless.
Art is a tool for engagement in communities, for reconciliation and intercultural dialogue, and imagining worlds different from the one you are in. It is creating fun, joy and beauty — in places where this is in short supply.

Story submitted by, Ruth Daniel, founder and CEO of In Place of War

For more information, please contact: ruth.daniel@manchester.co.uk

Unexpected Death Sparks Community Unity

The unexpected death of a Lake County, Illinois man sparked community unity. On August 2, 2021, Clyde Lewis Jr. was fatally injured in a car accident while he was on his way to help a friend “save” her son from being under-sheltered. The friend also suffered fatal injuries in the crash. This young man was a beloved member of this community. Three of his friends felt the need to “do something” to honor him.

Three of his friends felt the need to “do something” to honor him. On August 3, 2021 within a 3-hour time period these three friends, Rayon Edwards (Ray Ray), Trina Friar (Trixi), and Ronald McCarthy (momma), called out the community to meet at “King Park” for a balloon release and candlelight vigil. The gathering was scheduled for three hours. Within the three hours over 400 people showed up to honor this young man. Community members brought food to grill, games for kids, alcohol to “pour out” (by tradition -honoring a fallen homie).

People do not have to be conventional by society’s standards, educated, well-mannered, and the like, they just have to have a caring heart and the spirit of community building to make it happen. Rayon Edwards (Ray Ray), Trina Friar (Trixi), and Ronald McCarthy (momma) three of this communities marginalized and oppressed by stereotypes and labels that, as shown by the events of August 3, 2021, do not define who they are or what they are capable of doing in their community.

Story shared by, MoDena Stinette, USA

Project Taillight

Project Taillight seeks to connect low-income residents with proactive headlight, taillight, license plate light, and/or turn signal repair services for free. Students of the Columbus State Automotive Technology program provide labor for this innovative public safety and crime prevention program. Because non-violent crimes are more often linked to poverty and lack of opportunity, this program reduces the need for residents and police to interact over minor violations.

Photo retrieved from columbusunderground.com

The goal of the program is to reduce minor traffic violations, allowing police to focus on more violent crime, while also reducing the number of times residents are pulled over along the side of the road for non-violent crimes. Additionally, it is a way for Columbus State students to give back to the community.

Some repairs have proven greater than the students can manage, but they work to coordinate assistance. They have interactions with the residents and learn how to provide customer service. The program has a $50,000 budget and also received a $25,000 contribution from the Columbus Department of Public Safety general fund. They hope to grow and expand.

For more information, please click here.

Story shared by Leslie Hatch Gail, USA

ActionAid Initiative Trains Cambodian Women to Adapt to Climate Change

ActionAid set up floating gardens in the village of Oakol, Cambodia, and trained women to tend to them. The women grow vegetables, and their sales from them are more than the proceeds from fishing. The floating gardens are an alternative to fishing because livelihoods through fishing were made nearly impossible by frequent storms and prolonged dry spells. The ActionAid initiative chose women for this initiative because studies show that women are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis.

Photo retrieved from OptimistDaily.com

The income per day from the vegetables is between 10,000 to 15,000 Cambodian riels, which is more income than income from fishing. Also, there is a health benefit because the community is consuming more vegetables. Besides, as one woman put it, the women have more skills to maximize opportunities and mentor others.

This initiative addressed gender inequality by empowering women to respond to the climate crisis that threatens their livelihoods.

For more information, please click here.

Story submitted by Margaret Sergon, USA

Liberating Lawns: Addressing systemic oppression in the food system

Cheyenne Sundance is a 23-year-old advocate for urban farming. Sundance began Growing in the Margins so that people like her affected by the systemic oppression in the food system can grow their own food. In 2019, Sundance began a 12-week free mentorship program that trains low-income urban youth in the art of urban agriculture. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Sundance launched the Liberating Lawns to address food insecurity within Toronto. Liberating Lawns matches individuals who want to grow food but lack space with people with gardens to spare.

Photo retrieved from OptimistDaily.com

Many people enrolled in the mentorship program so that the initial plot behind the church was no longer enough. As a result, Sundance’s initiative took over a greenhouse within the city, a year-round urban farm. It is hoped that farming education given to the youth will be a seed of revolution that will address that oppression within the food system.

This initiative addressed the inequities in the food system by mentoring urban youth in urban agriculture and also by linking those interested in urban farming but without space, with those with space to spare.

For more information, click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Danish Bees Give Hope to Refugees

Oliver Maxwell launched the Bybi in 2010. Bybi is a social enterprise and city organization of beekeepers. Maxwell holds regular courses on beekeeping for immigrants, people experiencing homelessness, and people looking for a fresh start in life. Inclusivity is central to Maxwell. He welcomes people from any background to work and volunteer in his organization. According to Maxwell, Bybi is not about making bees; rather, it is about the community’s health where bees, flowers, and people thrive.

Photo retrieved from yesmagazine.org

Bybi has employed marginalized people to plant flowers, place beehives, harvest, and pack honey. It has also brought biodiversity to the Copenhagen area, which now has 150 colonies in 30 locations.

This initiative addressed unemployment faced by marginalized community members, more so for immigrants who are not only new to the community but who may be unwelcomed.

For more information, click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

The Social Supermarket

The Social Supermarket is run by a faith-based organization called the Wellington City Mission. The only difference between regular supermarkets and Social Supermarket is that every item in the latter is free. The idea behind the Social Supermarket is to provide food support to the community while simultaneously giving the people the opportunity to choose the food they like. Those in need of food discuss their situation with the organization, after which they are assigned points that determine the amount of food they can shop for. Individual circumstances, for example, single verses family, determine the points allotted.

Photo retrieved from OptimistDaily.com

The community is provided with food that they like instead of pre-selected food. Also, people learn to work with a budget. This happens as individuals use their allotted points to gauge food items they can afford to buy.

This is an innovation that reduces poverty by providing food assistance in a dignified way while at the same time teaching budgeting skills.

For more information click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Moving Company Helps Victims of Domestic Violence Leave Abusive Homes at no cost

College Hunks is a hauling company that in 2020 began free haulings services to people fleeing domestic abuse situations. Since the recent launch of this program, College Hunks has completed 100 moves for those fleeing unsafe conditions in both U.S. and Canada. The company saw this need as a priority because they said the lockdown mandated by the COVID-19 pandemic exposed individuals to increased abuse. The procedure of how to apply for this service is outlined on College & Hunks website.

There were 100 individuals moved from an abusive situation to safety and no cost to them. Humans have endless creative ideas for meeting their myriad challenges- new and old.

Picture retrieved from Good News Network

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here

Share a smile with Handmade cards for hospitalized patients

We are two brothers Hurshneet and Pravneet Chadha who started the initiative of Project Smile AZ to spread smiles and hope to patients who have been fighting COVID-19 all alone in the hospitals and anyone who is in need of a smile! With hospital rules to limit visitors, patients are extremely lonely and need a cheer me up thought. That’s exactly what our smile cards do!! We have more than 4000 Smile cards and have been donating them to hospitals across the US. Our goal is to bring a smile to everyone from A to Z.

More than 4500 Handmade cards have been shared to patients in hospitals, Veteran homes and to Navajo nation. We have made 130 kits for kids with card making and art supplies and shared them to friends at the Crisis center of Arizona and ACCEL centre for children and adults with disabilities like autism, who enjoy making cards from supplies. its a win win for those making the cards and those receiving it. The positive feedback from hospital staff and patients who have received these cards has been the biggest reward.

We learnt that we can always do something with where we are and with what we have to make the world better. We were stuck at home and did not have much supplies except some paper, cardstock and markers . We started off with a 100 card and soon made it to 4000 plus. Our messages brought that many smiles to patients who were lonely in hospital. Second lesson we learnt is that together we can make a big difference. Very soon after the initiative many people started regularly donating cards to our cause which helped make a bigger impact.

Story shared by Hurshneet Chadha, USA

More info here or at projectsmileaz@gmail.com

St. Xavier student creates website for grocery delivery during the pandemic

To help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, Trip Wright, a 17th-year-old college student in Cincinnati, created the zoomfooddeliver.com organization. The aim was to provide safe and free grocery deliveries to the elder and those who could not get to the stores because they were susceptible to contracting the virus. Within two weeks, Wright had recruited 70 volunteers and had fulfilled 30 orders. Between his online classes, Wright checked emails and orders so as to correspond between those in need and the volunteers.

The elderly and those susceptible to the coronavirus in Wright’s community could stay at home and have groceries delivered to them for free.

Creative ways to cater to the needs of those susceptible to the coronavirus while keeping them safe.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here or at msergon@my.nl.edu