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PEACEMAKER HERO:
FRIENDS WITHOUT BORDERS
by Amanda Molinaro from Irvine

http://www.friendswithoutborders.org/

Friends Without Borders was started by John Silliphant and Mark Peters, who had come to India to do social service. When their visas expired, they decided to travel to Pakistan to continue their work. John Silliphant came up with the idea of collecting friendship letters from the children of India to deliver to the children of Pakistan as a gesture of goodwill. The response from the children of Pakistan was overwhelming. They loved writing letters, and in just a few weeks Silliphant and Peters had collected over 10,000 letters. As letters were being exchanged, it became apparent that they were going to leave lasting impressions. Silliphant believes that "one kid writing a letter makes a difference. When those two kids connect, a connection is made that is going to be lasting. And so if you connect a whole generation then when they grow up the world is replaced by kids with a whole different mindset." Silliphant and Peters began to wonder, if they could get children of both nations to write to each other, connecting an entire generation of children, if it could be a new approach to world peace.

A child's painting depicting the law of love from Law of Love short film

The children of India believe that “[India and Pakistan] are fighting over the past, and the past is gone. We need to look out for the future.” “If we have wars, we will destroy our whole countries. No one will exist,” say the children of Pakistan. When asked if they would fight like their elders when they grow up, they replied, “No I won’t. My main aim of life is to bring peace to the world." The children of India want to know, “Why are we fighting over a piece of land when we have many other things to worry about?”

The children of India wrote a giant love letter, measuring 319 feet by 233 feet, to the children of Pakistan. The children of Pakistan had the following response: "We love the children of India and we want peace."

(http://www.dilsedil.org/home.html)
Friends Without Borders went through extraordinary efforts to put together the Dil se Dil (Heart-to-Heart) Concert, a concert to be held on the India-Pakistan border. It would be held on the night of August 14th, and people from India and Pakistan would gather to jointly celebrate 60 years of independence. The concert was meant to offer a model for dealing with problems and conflicts: through contact and communication, heart-to-heart. This was to be a momentous event in India and Pakistan's history: for the first time they would be celebrating their independence together. At the last minute, the concert was canceled due to security threats. Rather than give up, Dil se Dil asks that you light a candle to show your support for the concert's ultimate fulfillment. "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."



Written by Amanda Molinaro from Irvine
Last changed on: 9/18/2010 12:11:46 PM

Friends Without Borders strives to help people to realize that despite our differences, we all share the same core commonalities and basic experiences. Friends Without Borders encourages everyone to broaden their definition of “us” to one that includes us all.

Dil se Dil

Watch Law of Love, the short film inspired by Friends Without Borders

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