On this International Day of Peace, heads of state from across the globe meet to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. A few miles away, I reflect on the daily work of my friends, the Peacemakers in Action.
In particular, I reflect on Dr. Sakena Yacoobi of Afghanistan, especially as the situation in Afghanistan is largely absent from the UNGA dialogue thus far.
Afghan women’s rights are still grossly violated by the Taliban two years after their takeover (read a recent report of the growing mental health crisis in Afghanistan here), yet Peacemaker Dr. Sakena Yacoobi works tirelessly for peace. She draws motivation from her Muslim faith, remaining steadfast in her mission to provide health services and education to women and children. Even as the Taliban continues to ban girls from school, Sakena’s organization created radio and TV programming across Afghanistan so that homes with broadcasting access became the classroom. They also manage 6 health clinics, run mobile outreach clinics, and maintain community health worker posts in local villages. Sakena and her colleagues are the peace actors implementing the SDGs on the ground.
Each Peacemaker in Action has a story like Sakena’s. Each grassroots peace activist within the Network works toward the targets set forth in the Sustainable Development Goals. All Tanenbaum Peacemakers work toward SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.
Today, we’re proud to celebrate Sakena and our courageous Peacemakers in Action who build bridges of peace within their local communities and the world.