The United Nations International Day of Peace is celebrated around the world on 21 September every year. This year the theme was ‘Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace’. The concept of flying kites to celebrate this day started in 2011 in Gaza when 13,000 children taking part in a summer camp broke the world record for the largest number of people flying kites at the same time. Ever since, flying kites has become a statement of hope for world peace.
Zimbabwe commemorated this important day on Sunday 18 September at Haka Game Park, situated between Harare Drive and Cleveland Dam. Well over 1,000 people from different backgrounds attended to promote peace, love and compassion. Some came for a few hours of fun and kite flying while others brought along picnic baskets and stayed for the whole day. There was even live music to keep the crowds entertained.
Although it was free to attend, people still had to pay to get into the park. Fortunately, the owner of the park reduced the usual price of $5 to $2. Five charities participated in the event to raise awareness and to fundraise for their respective causes. Some of the organizations present were KidzCan (raising support and awareness for children with cancer), Zimbabwe Endometriosis Awareness, Rokpa Support Network, FGBW – For Girls By Women (promoting menstrual hygiene and management), the Raja Yoga Centre, Growing Together – a project to plant trees in high density areas, Keepers Alert (a media project for children living on the streets), Alive Albinism Initiative, and Pathways Autism Trust.
The venue was ideal for kite flying with wide open spaces where the grass had been cut sloping down to the banks of Cleveland Dam. The weather also cooperated as it was a sunny day and the wind was neither too little nor too gusty. It was a great way to get kids and adults away from the computer and TV and for some healthy exercise outdoors in the sun and fresh air.
Kites for Peace was first held in Harare at Lake Chivero in 2014. In 2015 it took place at Ngomakurira near Domboshava. Next year the event will take place on Sunday 24th September – the nearest Sunday to International Peace Day – at a venue to be announced, so mark it down in your diary.
Resident Joshua Warren who attended the event later wrote on the Kites for Peace Facebook page: “To see Zimbabweans of all races, creeds and age-groups mingling in support of community projects and conservation is heart-warming. To run amok on a field in a nature and wildlife park, surrounded by children and families engaging in the sheer thrill of flying kites, is tonic for the soul. Oh my God I loved it! I mean, I really really LOVED IT… Uplifting, magical, fun, inspirational and encouraging.”
On their website Kites for Peace says: “In flying our kites we pledge to respect all life, reject violence, forgive ourselves and others, promote goodwill, uplift others and help them, listen to understand, and preserve the planet. They are a non-political, not for profit organisation managed by Suraiya Essof. It is part of a loose group of charities and community service projects by Zimbabwe Cares – a Facebook and Whatsapp networking group.
To find out more about Kites for Peace visit their Facebook page: Kites for Peace Zimbabwe, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about Zimbabwe Cares and to join their network visit Zimbabwe Cares Network Facebook page.