Wevly, Haiti

 

Dear World,

My name is Wevly Thibeaud. I am 19 years old and I am from Haiti.

Haiti is a small country where there is a lot of suffering. Children sleep on the street and some of them don’t go to school. The rights of women are not respected. There are many people who still live under tents since the earthquake of January 2010. I have never shared my feelings about the way I saw people trying to overcome misery in Haiti. And now I feel that it is time.

It is our turn to lift our voice the world, as women and men. I fear and worry about the future of this world, against the decadence of the today. We need to stop living in our past victory of heroes we all study at school, in museums and so on. We need to put what we have learned from our heroes into action, in the world that they created for us.

Imagine a peaceful future, without fighting and violence, without discrimination against each other, without a desire to fight a war for power. We all have a right to a peaceful future, in which we are happy, where all children are going to have a chance to have a family. We all have the right to a future in which we are educated, in which we help one another, where compassion, love, respect, and empathy guide us to a peaceful future.

To realize that vision, we must each have our own mission. Women need to be confident, engaged in society and within the government, because as women we have powerful things to say to the world. We need to participate in politics and social affairs.

Men need to stop giving orders to women. They need to initiate dialogue that ends in compromise. Men need to recognise women’s capacity in the social and political fabric of society and of this country. Men must be more integrated within their communities, instead of acting as individuals, only interested in advancing themselves.

Young people need to go to school and to believe in themselves. They need to have goals and believe in a better world. They need to understand that they play a crucial role in this world and that their knowledge and their active participation in social affairs of their communities will advance our country in the long run.

Personally, I think that in order to create this vision, I must participate in the education of my fellow citizens here in Haiti. I must raise awareness and encourage people to understand that we cannot use violence to advance life, because violence destroys people; violence destroys families, it destroys dreams. It is with peace that we can build our nation and make it stronger. We are all agents of change in this world. It is only after we all go against the evil that gnaws at the world, that we will come together and we will put our hands together to build a vision of the future that is one of peace.

Wevly Thibeaud,

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Sulaf, Gaza

sulaf-ghanim

Dear world,

My name is Sulaf Ghanim, and I am a 19-year-old girl. I was born and raised in the Gaza Strip, which is about 60 kilometers from the village of Hatta from which my grandparents were forced out and became refugees.

I see the world in colors and love people regardless of their faith, color, sexual orientation or political views. My biggest dream is to see the people of the world living in peace and harmony.

During my 19 years on this planet I have lived through three wars. I live under the constant treat of another one. It is exhausting! What makes me sad is to see my city turned into a big prison. My family and I are not allowed to travel outside of the Gaza Strip for any reason including medical treatment or higher education. I was accepted to the pre-medical school in Cairo but due to the siege on my city I could not travel and pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. I have always wanted to be a pediatrician and help the poor children of my city.

I have a dream of waking up one day to a free Palestine. A free Palestine in which I can travel to other cities and enjoy the mountains in the north on a hot summer day or travel to my holy city of Jerusalem and pray for world peace.

When I close my eyes, I dream of a day and a world where everyone reaches out to help others without having any ulterior motives. I dream of a place that has no wars, no killing, no bombing and definitely no suffering. But when I open my eyes I just see wars, smoke, darkness, poverty and ignorance everywhere.

Instead of losing hope I have decided to dedicate my life to improve the lives of my people. Therefore, I have always been active in my community doing community service since I was young. I have defied all the restrictions imposed by traditional social customs that would limit women’s growth and success. Women have to understand they can influence the world positively and their job is not only to raise kids and do housework. As women, we must take on the responsibility of changing our present way of living and thinking and be part of the changes we want to see in this world.

Dear men, what if we stopped fighting to belong and realized that we already belong? What if we acknowledged, in each interaction with ourselves and with others, the eternal, beautiful, interconnected energy that flows between us? What if we recognized our equality and celebrated our differences? Imagine how the world could be.

We need more peace, to stay in harmony with our brethren. We need more understanding to tackle our misunderstandings. We need more justice and less injustice. We need more peacemakers and fewer revolutionaries. Peace will come about in the world from the perfection of individuals. If you have peace, I have peace, he has peace, and she has peace. Then and just then, a world peace would become a reality.

Don’t wait for a better world. Start now to create a world of harmony and peace.

Thank you

Sulaf Ghanim

Sofia, Mexico

Dear World,

My name is Sofia; I have been living here since 1997. I was born and grew up in Mexico. Therefore I can relate what it is to live in a country with two realities. Mexico is a beautiful country. Nevertheless, is facing lot of pressing issues that are interconnected including violence and war.

You realize it in your daily life. Every day in the news you are able to see it, there are always crimes against journalist, teachers, indigenous students, women etc. Nevertheless violence is not only about living with insecurity about our lives, violence is also not having the right to express your opinion. Violence is not having something to eat that day. Violence is not having an appropriate environment. Violence is not having access to education. Violence implicates many aspects of the human life, especially our rights.

Our rights are not respected. The curious thing is that we are not respecting our own rights. It is an interesting phenomenon because it seems we are living as individuals and we are not taking into consideration every person around us. Humans are connected, we are not just a nationality or number, and there is something beyond that. Everybody has feelings and has a history. We should be more conscious of our dependence on each other.

For this reason, I truly believe education would make us conscious and free of violence. However we need an education without attachment. In every culture, people have beliefs and their own way of understanding the world, but sometimes these beliefs only cause more conflict. We should let these barriers go and start to spread an education with the objective to create humans who think critically.

I certainly have faith in women. We have an important role and we should take action to address the world’s problems, recognize our capacity for political and social issues and encourage other women to fight for access to education and believe in themselves.

Finally, peace is not going to happen like a miracle. It is a challenge for everybody but we have an opportunity to demonstrate that we are responsible for our destiny. We should not create an illusion of peace as a utopia, or something we cannot reach. We should be able to create a peace we can see every day, something that is part of our lives, something to fill our souls and motivate us to become the best version of ourselves.

Sofia Abundis Mendivil

19 years-old, Mexico

Sana, Afghanistan

sana-ahmadi

Dear world,

I am Sana Ahmadi and I am a 17-year-old from Afghanistan. I believe we are still living in an armed and warring planet; a place where humans experience systematic violation of their human rights and are, to an alarming degree, the targets and sufferers of carnage and belligerence. But these are the strikes and varied acts of nerve by humans, which have battled this aggression and injustice throughout history and the ongoing current battle. We dedicate ourselves to this battle to avert violence and to send forth ripples of hope for living in peaceful and secure world. Men and women are both victimized by the war and both want to bring about a world where the noble characteristics and aspirations of human rights are embodied.

So when both men and women are affected as a whole, both sexes should contribute to strengthening international peace and security. If we want to utterly destroy the foundation of war, there should be equality between men and women in the abolition of warfare in first place. We need unity and concord in the maintenance of order.

Women have the capacity to remedy the pervasive culture of violence and bring the world lasting peace. The key to this essential involvement of women is the realization of their capacity to manage conflicts. We need women to believe that they can be part of a dynamic positive change and can bring down the mightiest walls of tyranny and prejudice.

We need men to nourish women’s aptitude for bringing change and to have respect for the highest qualities of women. I need men to forge attitudes of tolerance and active concern towards women and have a cooperative approach to resolve violent conflicts.

We all together can create a peaceful world where it will be brotherhood and harmony instead of violence and bloodshed.

For bringing peace, we need to hold true to the great promises for lessening and ultimately eradicating disruptive injustices and we should take serious actions for making our promises come true.

Thank you!

Sana Ahmadi, Age 17, Afghanistan

Kate, USA

Dear World,

My name is Kate Hirsch, and I’m 21 years old. I grew up in New York City in a small, cozy apartment with a wonderful family. I am privileged. There is no doubt about it. I am white, and of a stable socioeconomic status. My life in New York City was comfortable, my upbringing relatively easy. But I have seen traces of violence, war, hate, and injustice.

I was in first grade when 9/11 happened. I remember my mom coming to get me from school. I was mad I had to leave early and I wanted to go to gym class. My mom made me put my shirt over my mouth on the walk back to my apartment so I wouldn’t inhale the smoke. I remember sitting in front of the television watching the towers fall on a loop as our house phone rang in the background. At the time, I didn’t understand that it all happened forty blocks away from where I lived.

Throughout the years that followed, I acclimated to a post 9/11 world. George Bush invaded Afghanistan, and later Iraq. The words “weapons of mass destruction,” “drones,” and “terrorism” became part of my vocabulary. I had to take my shoes off at airports.

As the wars escalated so did Islamophobia. Hate speech and slurs permeated the news. The construction of a mosque next to ground zero resulted in anti-Muslim protests. People on the street began to point and whisper and women wearing hijabs, men with headscarves and beards were profiled by police officers on the subway. I would wonder to myself, how was this right? This behavior seen on the streets, in the news, in schools, was conditioning us to hate. It was giving us an ‘other’ to justify continued violence and war. It wasn’t fair.

In my opinion, the first step towards peace is mutual understanding. We must strive to understand that difference should not be equated with fear but should inspire us to learn. Understanding differences makes us more aware as consumers. We are able to pick out the lies, prejudice and stereotypes we are exposed to everyday.

As an American woman, I hold myself accountable to this challenge. To strive to understand and check my privilege, learn about others, and critique the institutions (both governmental and otherwise) that continue to espouse negative and harmful societal norms.

To all my powerful ladies, I encourage you to do this as well. Because why shouldn’t we be at the forefront of change?

Let’s do this.

Kate

 

Marlene, Germany

marlene

Dear world,

You’re alive and you’re moving.

Every hour 15 thousand children are born. Every minute, 3.6 thousand new photos are shared on Instagram. Every second, Google gets 56,315 searches. Every year, people are forced to leave their homes: the numbers—not measureable. A lot happens in a year, in a month, in a day, in a minute, in a second. Most of it drowns in the depths of our memories, of the Internet or surrenders to the speed of the rotation of this world. But some things don’t just go away and disappear. Some things insist on staying. Some things keep on hurting and some questions are pinned to the wall of history for a long time.

What will happen if I leave – and what if I stay? What will happen to my children and what to me? Will I stay alive, will I be? So many questions, so much hope. So much fear, so little rope left to hold. Where will we go and will we survive? Hearing the stories about the dark drive. Will we be invited or will we have to leave? Will we be reunited or run into reefs? So many questions so little answers. Should we stop walking or fight like the lancers? Should we adhere or should we part? Questions the old ask, just as the young.

Some things are uncertain but one is for sure; there never was an answer that simple and pure. Humans are humans, girls just as boys. Humans are humans, no matter the orientation. Humans are humans, no matter the belief. Humans are humans, at land like at sea. And humans are humans, no matter you or me.

Have you ever built a house alone? From each brick to the roof, bulletproof. From the wall to the floor, waterproof. From now to then, shatterproof and from then to now, fireproof. We can’t do it alone. We have to stand hand in hand and must not bemoan, the lost and the broken, the gone and the dark. Instead we must build a new wooden ark. Resting at land and swimming at sea. A place for all those who decided to flee.

But what relates to the future and what is fading away? Can we colour the future if the present is grey? 
Dirt and dust filling the air. Falling down – But united, we can take it away. Women are strong and women are hopeful. Men have the power and the power is vocal. Together be better, together be brave. Together, let’s break the violent cave. Together, let’s cease –

Dear World, Please, Move us toward peace.

Marlene Louisa Mörig

18, Germany

Malak, Egypt

malak-el-shamy

Dear World,

My name is Malak, I am an 18 year old from Egypt who stands for equality and respect. The word “peace” is a very broad term we use to describe a state of calm. Yet, peace is not the stagnancy of a state, but the harmony of how our legs move, the symphony in how our world dialogues, and the sonnet of how our countries communicate.

Those of us who chase after a healthier world, dream of secure lands, tranquil neighborhoods, and confidence in a safe sleep. In a world which harm happens more often than kindness, war is almost noiseless but damages and threatens us all. There is a nagging fear, a present that signals an unnamed future that we must save. I am a believer in purpose; I believe that each of us is created for a purpose that we must fulfill during our stay in this world. As a woman, I am aware of the capability of our gender, our potential, and the limitless possibility of our contribution. A woman is the mother of the world. A woman is the refugee who was stripped of equality, fairness, rights, liberty, and security. Women around the world have created a revolution seeking freedom. They set an example to all oppressed people. Women are the inspiration for a civilized rebellion; they are the anchor to those striving for security, independence and the peaceful world we seek.

Men who revolt alongside women set an example for the rest of the world. With their ability to empower women, they can provide support and justice that will make peace and security our new normal.

But it is the youth that give us hope that our dreams for the future can become a lived truth. Our investment in them must never be treated with laziness. Their education is our hope and they can reshape the future. Our example to them is the light they will follow and they are the spark to our every dream.

My role as an individual is to speak to them and be the example for them to follow. I seek to offer them guidance and become one of them, as a leader not a superior. My role is to call for their needs and ours, to stir in them the endeavor of revolution.

Security and peace is a way of life not a luxury, it is a necessity that we lack and that in itself is dangerous. This is an issue that cannot wait or be paused. It is time to make a change.

Thank you,

Malak El-Shamy.

 

Farida, Algeria

Dear World,

My name is Farida, I’m 22 years old, I’m from Algeria and I’m studying computer engineering. Every time I open my computer or see the news on TV or read some articles on the newspaper, I find out very sad stories and violent facts that YOU, dear planet are suffering from. Every day in my planet blood is flowing, houses are getting destroyed, and children are being raped or killed. Women are suffering from gender discrimination, domestic violence and sexual harassment. Should we live every day the same thing, expecting bad things to happen and always being afraid? Should we stay like this? When can we expect at least a little change?

As an Algerian woman, I’m very lucky compared to women from other countries. I grew up in a great city and I have access to an education. My parents taught me that as a Muslim woman, I am very empowered and open to the world. They taught me to be tolerant, to accept other’s differences. They taught me to be a successful woman, to help others when I can and be always open and available when someone is in need.

I dream to live in a peaceful world. Since my Women2Women experience in the United States, I believe that I can contribute to change. I’m convinced that peace can happen one day and it won’t be something just written in papers. For this change, I need help. I need people around me believing in this positive change. I need people first to understand what causes these problems and to do more than just talk. I need people to be free to share their opinions and ideas and accept other’s points of view. I need people to collaborate and unify their opinions for a better future and a better world. I need them to be wise, to know that tomorrow is very important for future generations. I need people to be tolerant and accept diversity and other’s differences, no matter where you came from, to which ethnicity you belong or which religion you practice. You are a human like me and it’s my duty to respect you.

I need parents to know that education is the most important thing for their children. I need authorities to understand that dialogue is the most powerful weapon to end conflicts. I need women to be strong and fight all forms of gender discrimination and extremism. I need men to understand that women are not their enemies but their partners in life. I need politicians to make good decisions for their countries. Finally, I need YOU, dear reader to believe in this change with me.

I’m sure that we can do it all together. It may take time, but believe me when I say that it will happen.

I hope for a positive change. I pray to God for that.

Take care of yourself, dear world.

Farida Bouachi

Maryem, The Netherlands

Dear world,

Wake up. We are tired. Tired of living up to everyone’s expectations. Tired of being the perfect students. Tired of hearing that we have to try harder. Tired of not feeling enough. Tired of being treated as children. Aren’t you aware that we are the next generation? Aren’t you aware that tomorrow we will stand where you’re standing now? Wake up…

As long as I can remember, I have been told that I won’t make it if I didn’t get better grades in math. No matter what I did, it always came down to me not being able to solve those problems. I have never been the smart friend, but I was always there. I’ve been asking myself why schools only test intelligence. But it doesn’t matter how careful, kind and openhearted I am. As long as I am not able to do math, I won’t make it.

Stop that! I need all of you to wake up. Is this the life you will want to look back on in 50 years? Ask yourself a question: will it be worth the sleepless nights and the falling tears? The world needs more than just good grades. The world needs open minded people, kind people, ambitious people, and caring people. There is much more than being smart. We can offer you more than just our intelligence.

I get that you want your kids to get into good colleges and have good jobs. But does it have to be at the expense of our mental health?

Some of us are sad because this life wasn’t what we expected it to be.

Some of us are mad at the world.

Some of us are afraid of being judged and keep everything to ourselves.

Some of us are desperate for help but too afraid to ask.

Some of us are stressed because we have to be perfect.

We are all suffering. We are all fighting our own war. This is not the world I, as a 5 year old wishing for peace, wanted to grow up in.
The world is in danger, wars are going on, people are dying from hunger, there’s still no cure to certain diseases, and we’re losing our minds. And the truth is, we’re not going to solve those problems anytime soon. So I need all of you to invest time in my generation because we will be the ones facing those problems in 10 years.

Instead of looking for solutions, ask where you went wrong and why you keep underestimating us. We need to change now. You are running out of time and we are growing up.

Yours sincerely,

Maryem Lhajoui

Age 17, 
The Netherlands

Basma, Gaza

basma-fanunah

Dear world,

My name is Basma, and I’m a 22-year-old woman from Palestine. Maybe your country is a place you make up in your own mind, something you dream about and sing about. Maybe it’s not a place on the map at all, but just a story full of people you meet and places you visit, full of books and films you’ve seen. I’m not afraid of being homesick and having no language to live in. I don’t have to be like anyone else. I’m walking on the wall, and nobody can stop me.

Let me tell you a story, woman to woman, about my country.

If we all really saw war, and what war does to young minds and bodies, it would be impossible to embrace the myth of war. If we had to stand over the distorted dead bodies of schoolchildren killed in my country, “Palestine,” and listen to the laments of their parents and relatives, we, as women, would not be able to repeat clichés we use to justify war. This is why war is carefully sanitized. This is why we are told about war’s perverse and dark thrill but are spared from seeing war’s consequences. The mythic visions of war keep it heroic and entertaining. But, wars kill the beautiful memories inside us. I have lived through three wars and luckily I survived. I believe what helped me miraculously survive is the tears in my dad`s eyes, the prayers of my mom, and the strength and anger I felt when I saw our demolished house. The image of that devastation and the memories of the dear people who died in the last Israeli aggression on Gaza are the most horrible experiences of my young life.

Despite everything, we still have hope of fighting and striving for justice for our country, and ourselves because we want to live in peace. Wars are not the end of the road, but war makes you more rational, knowing life is fraught with difficulties. If you give up, you will completely collapse. I strive every day to create a better future for my family and me. Females here face a lot of troubles during our daily life, but we believe that we are born as free people. Without the support from our parents we wouldn’t be able to function in our societies.

Therefore, I ask all women around the world to be themselves and not be subject to the decisions of their communities; stand and fight for your rights like women in Palestine.

We are strong, each in our purpose, and we are all stronger together.

Thank you

Basma Fanunah

22, Palestine