We encourage Peace Place’s preschool, parenting and community peace education in Central Java with its commitment to breaking the intergenerational cycles of oppression after colonization. Peace Place houses the Friends Guest House, accepts extended volunteers and hosts an Annual International Peace Training. AWP extends the message of peace and nonviolence through the Power of Goodness story pool and activities in Peace Libraries. We support AVP-Indonesia in Central Java, East Aceh, Barak Induk in North Sumatra, the Mentawai Islands of West Sumatra and Jayapura in West Papua.
Indonesia in Southeast Asia covers thousands of volcanic islands at the crossroads of hundreds of ethnic groups speaking languages from five different linguistic bases. Distances in Indonesia are far, spanning 5 million sq. km. or 1,930,509 sq mi.. Traditionally Goddess worshippers, the approach to security for exposed island was to absorb what comes and celebrate diversity: Animist, Hindu, Buddhist, Islam, Catholic, Protestant or others. Indonesia’s diversity has allowed us to identify our universal humanity within our diversity.
- Central Java faces extreme religious violence and large groups of young people left behind by migrant laborers, while recovering from the humiliation and oppression of 350 years of colonization.
- Aceh on the north tip of Sumatra resisted Dutch colonization. Taken off-guard when Indonesian military turned on them in the 1965 US-orchestrated coup d’etat, the Acehnese fought a 30-year war for independence from Indonesia and US-backed natural resource exploitation until the 2004 global tsunami hit their land and people.
- Barak Induk in North Sumatra is home to thousands of Javanese refugees from the war in Aceh who fight illegal logging and oil palm interests to defend the mountain land they have farmed since fleeing the war in 1999-2000.
- Mentawai Islands off the coast of West Sumatra face discrimination as traditional Christian communities and challenges to their communal lifestyle as roads recently opened access.
- Jayapura, the capital of West Papua, suffers long-standing human rights abuse with impunity for territorial control and natural resource exploitation while the world turns a blind-eye on their suffering.
Central Java faces extreme religious violence and large groups of young people left behind by migrant laborers, while recovering from the humiliation and oppression of 350 years of colonization.
Peace Place is a center for personal change and training for peace, healing and learning in Pati, Central Java welcoming to people of all backgrounds and faiths. We especially bring together Muslims and Christians because religious segregation and violence is common in this region. A Mennonite couple, Nanik and Petrus, and an Islamic couple, Zumrotin and Sunhadi, collaborate on expanding peace in the region of Pati, Central Java, Indonesia.
We have offered AVP workshops since 2008 in empowerment, resiliency, creative play, communities of conscience, liberation and discernment. Friends Peace Teams visits annually and places extended volunteers to support the work. Peace Place offers nonviolence-based peace education to children, teens, parents, teachers and community members to overcome centuries of colonization and the violence of current religious extremism. We have hosted a two-week Annual International Peace Training in January since establishing Peace Place in 2011, strengthening peace workers from over a dozen countries. Our training supports a multi-lingual rich environment and celebrates a diversity of languages, faiths and cultures.
Years of colonization disrupts traditional approaches to education. Although Javanese are highly dedicated to education, the region of Pati suffers from extensive poverty. Formal education systems have survived on corruption for decades. Peace Place adhere strictly to standards of integrity, and so has not received full governmental funding.
We have witnessed changes in adults through seeing the changes in their children and in the interactions between children and adults. We established Joglo Preschool with programs for children, parents and teachers. The programs are grounded in the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) and Quaker approaches to peace and education, which work well for children with a wide variety of abilities and needs. Parents who enroll their children attend at least one AVP basic workshop to practice self-care, affirmation, communication, resiliency, cooperation, connection, conflict transformation, capacity building and discernment. We work together for trust, healing and development in ourselves and in our children, communities and society.
Without peaceful use of power, there is no healing;
without healing, there is no learning;
without learning, there is no peace.
Without all three, there is no future.
We produce developmentally, culturally and environmentally appropriate learning materials, including toys and storybooks to support our programs.
Power of Goodness collects stories from the lives of real people that depict instructional moments in how to rely on the power of goodness in difficult situations and the amazing results of doing so. The stories are written for children and illustrated by children in ways compelling to people of any age, depicting the excitement of action, the joy of seeing from new perspectives and the encouragement of small acts that make big differences, through books, exhibitions, talks and short workshops.
We translated the Power of Goodness story collection to Indonesian and are collecting Indonesian stories to submit to the collection. We offer mini-AVP events with an opening sharing, story, discussion, activity and game around a theme and a story. We offer these as Peace Library events to school, public and community libraries and small reading and religious education groups. This allows trained peace workers to disseminate the ideas of peace and nonviolence broadly.
The Friends Guest House at Peace Place was built in the Village of Muktiharjo, Pati, Central Java, Indonesia, the second floor of Petrus and Nanik’s home four meters square. Guests have contributed greatly to removing the asbestos roof and replacing it with ceramic tile, purchasing a refrigerator for the kitchen and western-standard beds for the two bedrooms. It is a friendly, casual accommodation, in front of the Peace Place Training Center and Joglo Preschool where visitors can observe the real work of bringing about peace in homes, community and society. Extended service volunteers are welcome for three to twelve months. Indonesian language classes can be arranged, and guests can volunteer to teach English, work in the preschool or with parents, and visit other Islamic, Christian and public schools in the area. The hosts, Nanik and Petrus, may be able to arrange volunteer opportunities in the arts, agriculture or other areas of interest as well.
Barak Induk in North Sumatra is home to thousands of Javanese refugees from the war in Aceh who fight illegal logging and oil palm interests to defend the mountain land they have farmed since fleeing the war in 1999-2000.
In 2006, community mothers learned peace education and established Tunas Baru Preschool, a Community Reading Room and a Play Center. They now serve as a demonstration site in North Sumatra. Friends Peace Teams learns from them the real, pernicious consequences of such U.S. policy as calling for and funding the Indonesian military attack on Aceh in 1965. Friends Peace Teams visited twice a year, then once a year, and now once every other year, and funded teacher scholarships for college and international training participation for Mislan, Ani, Sri, Egi, Suci and Dita.
Accepting children six-weeks to six-years old, Tunas Baru Preschool serves over 50 students and their families. Mislan serves as the Principal with six teachers, all college certified as a result of Friends Peace Teams scholarships. We offer on-going parent and community education, and organize the Barak Induk Youth Corp. Recovering from decades of war in Aceh, losing everything, being displaced into the mountains with no livelihoods, peace is not the signing of an accord, it’s the struggle of recreating family life and stability. As farmers, we plant rubber, chocolate, mahogany, teak, fruit and other forest trees, and appreciate the social skills of developing peaceful society.
In Aceh, on the north tip of Sumatra, the AVP program began in 2005. For ten years, the skills of nonviolence, communication, cooperation, trauma recovery, resiliency and creative, developmental play bolstered our recovery from decades of war and violence. Peace then brought with it the demands of building livelihoods, business and civil society in the aftermath of war. We continue to seek ways to balance investing in development while learning to create and preserve the peace among us that allows us to pursue prosperity.
Off the coast of West Sumatra, people struggle with the prejudices of being a Christian community in a Islamic society. In 2016, first-time road construction rapidly connected their communities to the outside world. Exposure to commercial society challenges their traditional communal culture.
We came to Peace Place in 2014 to learn AVP skills and since have established peace education and a preschool. We work on anti-corruption and discrimination strategies to advocate for peace and justice for our people. Some local governmental leadership asked Friends Peace Teams to help us face religious prejudice and find a peaceful way in this modern culture. We have participated in the Peace Place training, but development takes time and continued support, so we hope to find ways to continue to learn about and practice the skills of peace and nonviolence.
Rory and Thea began attending the International Peace Training at Peace Place in 2017 and 2018. They brought these skills home to Jayapura to support a nonviolence movement through the church. They connect the skills of peace and nonviolence to scripture study with a focus on nonviolence in the family, peace education among children, in the family and in the church, and a campaign for justice for women and children in Papua.
The people of Papua were colonized by the Dutch, who retained control after WWII by arguing that the Papuans were a separate ethnic group from the Indonesians. Since 1963 when Indonesia took control of Papua, a strong independence movement has persisted in Papua. West Papua has suffered long-standing violence, resource exploitation and discrimination by the Indonesian government, supported by the U.S. and Australian governments. Persistent justice, execution of leadership and disruption of development, poses significant challenges for the people to meet the demands of their society. Learning the skills and tools of peace and nonviolence invests in development while maintaining demands for justice that peace requires.