Victoria, aged 15

You can contribute to peace: what actions are you taking in your surroundings, your school, your city, or at the international level? 

Peace is not just the absence of war and violence, but is also viewed as peace of mind, harmony, tranquility and serenity. Many people can contribute to peace, and many do, but if everyone in the world could contribute to peace, the world would be a better place. I, myself, try to contribute to peace by raising and donating money to charity, and by going to church, but others might contribute in different ways, such as actually going to a poor country for some time, and help building something, such as a school. Trips like that are also organized by schools, and I would really like to participate in one of them.

When I was reading this essay topic, I thought, “Do I really contribute to peace? Am I taking action?” and then I thought of all the bake sales and stands selling anything I could find that I had organized for the past 6 years for A Better Life Foundation. I thought of all that time I had spent baking cakes or making bracelets and then selling them in school events, or even breaks at school. For the past 6 years, I have been raising money and donating to the foundation to help poor, disabled, elderly, homeless and discriminated-against people in the one of the poorest countries in the world – Burkina Faso. I first started contributing to A Better Life Foundation when I was 8 years old back in my old school in Spain, because my godmother was working for the foundation. The school bazaar was coming up, and I desperately wanted to put up a stand and sell things, so I asked myself “Why not sell things and donate some money to the foundation? I could help many unfortunate people!” and I just loved the idea. I started making many bracelets, and got anything I could sell and didn’t want, and created colorful posters advertising my stand, and got ready for the bazaar. I still remember waking up early to go and set up my stand at school. And every year since then, I organize sales to donate money to A Better Life Foundation. Yes, at first it was hard seeing my friends having fun at the bazaar and doing nothing while I was there just sitting at my stand trying to sell things, but when I thought of all the little children and people I would be helping, my envy would just vanish in a matter of seconds.

The satisfaction you get after donating money that you have worked for to a foundation is just indescribable. You feel so good about yourself, and think of the good act you have done. You feel so special, knowing that you just changed the life of an underprivileged person by donating some money. Nowadays, people don’t constantly think of how lucky they are, but they should. We are so lucky to have food and eat whenever we want. We are so lucky to have a good shelter to sleep at night, and we are so lucky to have people who care about us, and take care of us. So many people out there in the world are homeless, abandoned, or starving. Things that for us are considered normal, such as shelter to sleep in at night, is something that millions of unfortunate people in the world wish they had. If everyone could donate money to these poor, unfortunate people, the world would be a better place. There wouldn’t be so many miserable people starving in the streets and there wouldn’t be so many abandoned children out on the streets because their mother couldn’t feed them. When I give money for charity to A Better Life Foundation to help people in need, I feel like I’m giving these people a chance to be happy.

Another way I contribute to peace is going to mass on Sundays. Most of the time, the church I go to donates money to people who really need it. For example, last year when theHaitidisaster happened, my church donated a lot of money to that poor country in need. Every Sunday, when I go to church, I donate some of my money that I would normally spend on something that I do not really need, such as candy, and give it to charity instead. But giving money to charity is not the only way you can promote peace when you go to church. Many people of many different religions could agree that praying can give you inner peace, for example, Christians believe in a kingdom of peace called Heaven, while Buddhists believe that peace can be achieved by ending all suffering. Praying and believing can contribute to your own peace of mind.

Even though I already contribute to peace, I never stop looking for new ways to help. I think I would really enjoy going to Burkina Fasoone day, and help A Better Life Foundation to build a school or teach little kids. I think it would really be an amazing life-changing experience, and the thought of it interests me. Other ways I would like to help contributing to peace would be doing helping the elders who need help, such as recycling, mowing lawns, or just simple things that make someone’s life easier. Another way that I could help contributing to peace would be tutoring little children that need help at school, or babysitting kids for free. All of these ideas are good, and I would really like to do some of them in addition to what I already do.

So in what ways do I contribute to peace? First of all by donating money, and second of all, by contributing to my own peace of mind. If everyone could contribute to peace, we would have a more harmonious world, and there wouldn’t be so many poor, miserable people out there, seeking help. I believe that if everyone in the world that is privileged could donate some of their time and money, this world would be a better place to live in.

About UN News Geneva

Sharing entires to the United Nations Peace Essay competitions run by the Information Service in Geneva in 2011
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