Families from nearly 30 nations joined the Virtual Family Volunteers for Peace Festival on International Day of Volunteers on December 5, 2021. The festival marks the first year of Family Volunteers for Peace Initiative by Global Peace Women since its launch earlier this year.
The initiative engaged hundreds of families in story submissions, new and ongoing projects, and an overwhelming feeling of connection and support from families around the world. The festival was hosted by Hope Kemigisha, project leader of GPW Uganda.
Sarah Aadland from Doing Good Together thanked family volunteers for their commitment to raising kind and compassionate kids. She listed the multiple benefits of volunteering as families. “Family volunteerism improves a child’s mental health, resilience, lowersi stress levels and improves their sense of well-being.” Doing Good Together has been a close partner and friend of Global Peace Women, instrumental in developing key resources like the Family Volunteers for Peace Handbook and the Values Education Handbook.
The FVP festival celebrated family service and the power of families for positive transformation. Three family volunteer stories were featured: Rabi’s family in Nigeria, the Lee family in Korea and the Breland family from the United States. A special interview with director of “Dancing Joy,” Kate Tsubata, demonstrated the infinite possibilities of families working together for peace. Additionally, four families were recognized for their outstanding story submissions to the Family Volunteers for Peace Story Contest. Bronze Prize went to Jalia Muntu’s family in Uganda and Shinbi Mira’s family in the Philippines. Silver Prize went to Tahmina’s family in Bangladesh and Gold Prize went to Lumjana Cenaj’s family in Albania. Ms. Cenaj, who comes from a long line of teachers and now teaches English for Peace reflected, “"We can change people's lives so easily. We can help them live a better life so easily. But maybe we are so mean in giving. And that's why we should not neglect giving what we have, everything we have, if we share it, we will double it." Mr. Jang, President For Service for Peace Korea acknowledged the powerful examples these stories represent in his congratulatory remarks.
The festival also featured beautiful performances from Korea, Uganda, and the Philippines. The grand finale was a clip for the Tsubata family masterpiece, “Dancing Joy.”
Global Peace Women looks forward to 2022, with new developments for the Family Volunteers for Peace initiative, including local coordinators, new educational and project resources, and an expanding network of families working for peace.