If you have (or you’ve had similar thoughts), then you’ll like bPeace, an organization dedicated to creating a million jobs in conflict areas, and active in Rwanda, Afghanistan, and El Salvador so far.
I have a special attachment to Afghanistan. I’ve written a novel set partly in Kabul, which I began just before 9/11. It’s pretty much done at this point (and I’m looking for an agent, publisher, etc…) but the country will always have a special place in my heart because of the extraordinary history, culture and people I’ve come to know. My book focuses on the very harsh conditions Afghan women are living under, but also on their resilience, resourcefulness, and fierce drive towards a better future for their children and their country. So bPeace‘s Afghan initiative, initially geared towards women but now also including men, spoke to me immediately.
bPeace pairs entrepreneurs from conflict areas with experienced business people in developed countries (and they are looking for skilled volunteers in certain areas to help “advocate” in developing these businesses if you’re interested). Here’s a small sample of some of the businesses bPeace has helped foster in Afghanistan (with the number of jobs created so far in parentheses):
- Mobina is running two radio stations and received coaching from an Allentown, PA, journalist (28);
- Maryam is teaching women to grow raisins (Afghanistan was once the world’s second-largest exporter!) and got a little help with packaging design from a New York graphic designer (10);
- Nasima is working to revitalize the silk industry with new designs (the country lies along the famous Silk Road) and has partnered with a Connecticut importer to create an international market (49); and
- Guljan’s chutney and tomato paste operation has received valuable pricing advice from a Bar Harbor, Maine, businesswoman (39).
Despite the constant barrage of negative press from all directions on this small central Asian country, bPeace is steadily showing one very effective way towards peace.
Thanks for stopping by,