Ghaida writes about her experience with the Foundation

January 2, 2015 | Nick Taylor

Ghaida is a young woman of 18.  She arrived in England less than two years ago, seeking asylum with her mother and two brothers, following threats and actions against their lives.
Her father wasn’t able to travel with them and she hasn’t seen him since arriving in England.
This is the article that Ghaida has written in her own words following her recent visit to the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace.
I attended the Leadership for Peace Residential at the Peace Centre on 21st November. I have heard about the Peace Centre from my mother who often visits. Even though I thought the Peace Centre was only a name, when I visited the Centre I realised it was a really a peaceful place.
I had been invited to participate in the Leadership Residential. In the beginning I hesitated to go because I was not sure: “What is it about; What am I going to do?” I wondered whether I would stand two days in the Centre. I also wondered: “Who am I going to meet? Would it be easy for me to communicate with people, as the youngest participant with little experience”.
My heart was beating fast, my breaths were short and fast, and my mouth was dry as I travelled on the train with my mother to Warrington. We arrived at Warrington Bank Quay station. We got a lift in nice car by a kind and handsome person.
In the car I felt very nervous, as he was driving closer to the Peace Centre. Again, I thought “I might not like it” and it would be very difficult to stay for two days with people I don’t know.
As we entered the Peace Centre building, I heard people who arrived before us talking and laughing, I felt worried and uncomfortable. I met a very nice lady from Northern Ireland, who introduced herself to me, I couldn’t understand what she said because my mind at that moment did not want to stop thinking.
Ann (Note: Ann Beswick is one of  the Foundation’s professional team) came to me and my anxiety went away when she gave me a warming hug, as usual.
Ann took me around to see the building.
After everyone was present, the programme started in a meeting room, where the first thing that caught my attention was a quotation on the wall saying: “peace is a life – life is a gift, don’t let your fears kill your dreams”. The word “fears” made me feel sad and my tears came out because the fear inside me is killing me, not only my dreams.
The setting of the meeting room was friendly; I felt peace was coming slowly inside me.
As Donna (Note: Donna Craine is one of  the Foundation’s professional team) sat next to me, to support me, everyone else in the room was encouraging me to speak and to share my ideas as well. I was listened to with the full attention of everyone.
All brought me peace in different ways; their smiles, voices, words, and behaviour. I even felt very happy and in full peace that I met a person who looks like my father.  I had a very warming feeling when he used to sit in front of me or around in the same dining table.
I enjoyed the activities, and I also learned about what it is to be a peace leader. The course gave me strength and made me more confident to share ideas about where I am now and what I want to be in the future, as a peace leader. The most powerful learning was: patience is one key for dreams to come true.
Ghaida – in her own words December 2014.

(c) 2015 the Leadership for Peace Weekend described by Ghaida is a module of Survivors for Peace, a project of the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace.  Co-funded by the Cabinet Office – Office for Civil Society.

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