Many people would want to forget the trauma of fleeing from war only to face racism and prejudice in what was meant to be a safe haven, but not Amina Khalid. Her experiences have inspired her to set up Peace Begins at Home, which runs intergenerational and conflict resolution dialogues for communities across Britain.
Amina and her family left Somalia when she was a teenager, because of the civil war. ‘I remember having a beautiful childhood, one that didn’t have any destruction or conflict,’ she says. ‘It was very family-oriented. I lived in a community that believed in doing everything together. I never felt lonely or isolated. When the civil war started, everything changed. We couldn’t stay there.’
Amina took part in a training course on mediation, communication and conflict resolution whilst studying her A-Levels at college. ‘I wanted to find ways of supporting others who might be going through a similar situation.’
Peace Begins at Home promotes peace and reconciliation in the family and reaches out into the community. Dialogues have taken place in cities across the UK and internationally. ‘Somalis have a strong culture of peace but it is often within the older generation,’ says Amina. ‘Respected elders used to come together and talk openly about their problems. The children weren’t there, so they never experienced how to face conflict.’
Working in peace and reconciliation has helped Amina to realise her dreams. She has turned her experiences into something positive that has the power to change the world. She quotes Rumi: ‘You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop.’
Read Amina's full story in Changemakers magazine.