In the words of the Malala Yousafzai, “One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”
If there’s anything we’ve learnt from this remarkable humanitarian and activist, it’s that the advancement of human beings through educational tools is far superior to weapons aimed at death and destruction. The power of the pen and written word exceeds the pointless desolation of metal warfare.
With a string of negative news from almost every corner of the world, it becomes so important for a voice of positivity and hope to emerge. In a cacophony of senseless strife and conflict, Salaamedia raises its emblematic voice for peace and justice.
This October, the humanitarian-based organisation launched their #Pens4Peace campaign, drawing on the power of the pen, the piercing strength of the pencil, the clarity of art brushes and paint, the laughter of colour pencils and crayons, and the soothing feel of paper on fingertips. They aim to channel innovation and use creativity as a form of protest and activism for a better world.
The campaign is a global call for peace, and focuses on hostility-ridden regions in Somalia, the Central African Republic, Palestine, Syria, Kashmir and Myanmar (the latter focusing on the Rohingya crisis).
The #Pens4Peace campaign was implemented in these ways:
1. The Salaam Foundation team embarked on a walk between Sharpeville in the Vaal to Pretoria. The team’s route was scheduled from 7-12 October and spanned different areas in Johannesburg:
- 7 October – Sharpeville Mosque to Sharpeville Memorial Site
- 8 October – Lenasia South to the Trade Route Mall
- 9 October – Lenasia Muslim School, Little Folks Nursery School and Masjid Ashraf (ext 11B).
- 10 October – Kliptown, Soweto, Ridgway Muslim School and Auckland Park.
- 11 October – Houghton, Kelvin and Marlboro.
- 12 October – Pretoria
2. Young people and adults were encouraged to visit Trade Route Mall in Lenasia and either drop off a drawing, painting or poem linked to a call for peace related to one of the target zones above, or, alternatively they could go into the mall and use the paper, paint and colours provided there to create a work of art. The artworks were displayed in the #Pens4Peace Art Gallery, situated in the mall, from 28 September 2018 to 19 October 2018. A minimum participation fee of R20 per artwork was requested.
3. Symbolic #Pens4Peace went on sale for R30 each. These pens will be delivered to individuals, schools and institutions that wish to contribute to the campaign, and funds raised will ultimately assist the victims of war. The pens can also be re-donated and delivered to children in South Africa struggling with educational resources.
All proceeds collected from this inspired campaign will benefit Salaam Foundation projects in Africa and other areas of the world, including Bangladesh and Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Salaamedia wishes to acknowledge the hard work of Ali Kandulu, an employee who has been the core member of the walking team. His silent dedication to the project has been outstanding.
We hope that the #Pens4Peace project will become a regular occurrence across the country, as we all have our own creativity to share and it’s more merited when aimed at such an excellent cause.
To make your contribution to the #Pens4Peace campaign, contact Salaamedia and Salaam Foundation: