Global Peace Volunteer is one of Global Peace Festival – Malaysia’s most highly anticipated projects. It encompasses the youthful exuberance of the Generation Y with the mission of unifying people from various backgrounds as One Family Under God; an inculcated motto whose repetition became second nature throughout the transboundary 3-day workshop. This year’s event, however, was to be bigger and more meaningful than previous editions as it came the wake of the confounding disappearance of flight MH370.
The usually high-definition social boundaries of ethnicity, race, religion, and nationality were blurred beyond recognition as the participants would come together as one united and loving family galvanized by a shared sense of community and empathy for those most affected by the unprecedented occurrence. This unity made the event a success on so many levels as compassion and teamwork flowed through the exercises seamlessly and catered for the perfect foundation for the notions of peace, harmony, love, and unity to flourish.
The heart-to-heart session was a downhearted and sombre experience where the participants were given the platform to share their life-stories initially with a partner and if they so wished, with the entire group. The room was illuminated by candles that set the mood for what would prove to be the most impactful event for most participants of the 2014 GPV camp. Little by little, the participants opened up and told each other about some of the trials and tribulations that they had gone through.
For some, it was therapeutic, a chance to let go of the demons that had haunted them for so long. For others who were more reluctant to share, it was a reminder to be grateful of what they had and to always smile even when it seems most unfitting. Tears were hidden by the dark, but an unmistakable silence and sense of calm would grip the room every time someone would speak. Some told passionate stories of broken homes, while others shared stories of unfortunate life events. Whatever the case, they came from the heart and poured out of them like the mouth of a river.
But what was amazing about each and every person in that room that night was you could never tell just by looking at them that their lives have been so turbulent. Everyone carried a smile, everyone tired to inspire others to smile. It was a powerful lesson in and of itself. As the lights were suddenly turned back on, participants (and leaders) could be spotted slyly wiping away tears from their eyes, though there was little that could be done to hide the effects of the heart-wrenching experience. It was an experience that will surely live long in the memory of all who were there.
Through Global Peace Volunteer, GPF emphasizes the notion that though we may seem different based on our race, religion, nationality and ethnicity, we are in actuality all the same, we are all One Family under God. The camp bridged these social constructs and allowed participants the opportunity to bond and create lasting relationships solidified by the team challenges and experiences that they would have gone through during the camp. Through the personality test, they learned more about themselves and their peers.
They attained knowledge that they can use to better understand different situations and determine how best to adjust to the people around them. Through the Broga Hill Hike, they learned the power of teamwork and how words like “I can’t do it” are figments of their imagination that they use to hold themselves back from their true potential. Through the presentations on Midnight Football, Ryan’s Well, and Learning from Disneyland, they learned that no challenge is too big as long as you are driven enough to achieve it. Above all, the camp reminded us all of the need to stay united as one people and one family, no matter the circumstances, and no matter the challenges. We are one family under God.