A guest blog from our associate partner, Oasis Trust
At Oasis, we challenge the assumption that ‘peace’ has outgrown us, becoming an unachievable ideal: a complicated, fleeting idea that has little relevance for our day-to-day lives.
It is dismissed as a by-product of wishful-thinking at best and, at worst, a dangerous falsehood-of-hope. We are encouraged to leave ‘peace’ to the professionals. To believe that the only way everyday people can, and should, engage with it is as a classroom topic, preferably history.
As we approach the centenary of the end of World War I, ‘peace’ can seem like just another chapter of history: the Armistice of 1918 having little-to-nothing to do with today’s complex and dangerous world.
No… Peace is real: it is tangible, achievable and most importantly – it is a commonplace, everyday thing. Peacemakers are not strangers in far-away places with funny names and United Nations credentials. Peacemakers are everyone and every ‘one’.
Around the world, Oasis is committed to building peace-making communities capable of resisting violence and overcoming conflict. In the coming months, Oasis will – through its INSPIRE programme – host a range of peace-making events, and training workshops for youth-workers on dealing with gang-related violence.
So, how do we become ‘peace-makers’? We start by recognising that peace is something we all need in our everyday lives. It starts with communities and communities are built from individuals and making peace with each other as individuals is something to which we can all aspire.
To commemorate Armistice Day 2018, we are holding simultaneous INSPIRE events in high-profile venues across the country on November 9, 2018. These events will celebrate what can be achieved when young people bring trust and passion to building peace.
In signing the INSPIRE Peace Charter these young people commit not simply to supporting the idea of peace, but to striving to live as an example of it. Striving to follow in the steps of the men and women, of all faiths and none, who have understood that the beginning of all peace-making is the hard but simple daily commitment to treat others as they would wish to be treated themselves.
Striving for ‘peace’ is at the heart of what Oasis is and does: a movement of volunteers, activists and professionals that now works in 36 communities across the UK and 11 countries around the globe. With a focus on communities, we work to create a new sense of neighbourhood where it has been forgotten.
Delivering a range of projects and services that help tackle social injustice in all its forms, we bring together everyone, regardless of their background and starting point. By bridging difference, settling disputes and overcoming fears everyone and every ‘one’ can overcome life’s hurdles.
One of our most vital peace-projects is the work done by the Oasis youth support (OYS) service based in the A&E departments of St Thomas’s Hospital and the North Middlesex University Hospital in London. The team helps young people to find a way out of knife and gang crime, and other forms of violence. Created in response to increasing numbers of local young people repeatedly attending the A&E due to violence and aggression, in 2010 Oasis collaborated with St Thomas’ Hospital to create OYS.
Young people aged 12-24 living in Lambeth and Southwark can be referred to OYS by A&E and hospital staff. They then receive dedicated one-to-one support from a youth worker who helps them to explore the reasons for their referral and identify areas of personal development – steering them away from further violence and aggression, and into safe, positive futures.
The OYS service was only the second of its kind in the country to be set up, and the first to have in-depth evaluation. Youth violence is a common issue in many places where Oasis works, and we want to equip other hospitals, charities and churches to reach out to those young people who need to break the cycle of violence in their lives.
To facilitate this Oasis is preparing to run a course on conflict transformation and mediation early in 2019. The course will help youth-workers gain knowledge and understanding about conflict and mediation. It will enable individuals to explore conflict and its impact and give them the skills and tools to manage complex issues and transform conflict.
This is a call to action. Everybody needs to be a part of a peaceful future. Everyone is capable of making a difference. Sign-up to our peace charter. Start a local community project to bring people together. Say “hello” to your neighbour. Peace starts with the smallest of actions and ends with the greatest of movements. Oasis is here to help.
How to get involved:
- Join our mailing list to learn more about our work and ways you can be part of our movement. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Learn about the Inspire movement and how you can become a peace-maker by signing up to our Peace Charter
- Watch this film and hear about the vision behind INSPIRE and how you can get involved
- Watch this film to learn more about OYS
- Anyone interested in the OYS course please do get in touch with our team at email@example.com