AKRON, Pa. – Each year some people of faith decide to witness for peace by redirecting their war tax dollars to efforts that nurture life and build justice.
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S.’ “Turning toward peace” is designed for people in the U.S. who wish to support peace.
Contributors to “Turning toward peace” can, as they did last year, apply their money to peace education in Afghanistan through MCC’s Global Family education sponsorship program and Afghan partner organization, Help the Afghan Children.
Beginning this year, contributors also can direct part or all of their money to MCC U.S.’ Summer Service program.
The program supports young adults of diverse backgrounds from across the U.S. to participate in six to 10 weeks of leadership development. Serving in their home communities through a church or other agency, young adults help with activities such as Vacation Bible School, summer youth camps or other community-building activities.
Former Summer Service worker Celmali Jaime, now of Bronx, New York City, worked hard in her Philadelphia day camp assignment in 2008 to ensure that peacemaking was part of the experience. Many of the children who attended the camp did not see peace in their lives or neighborhood, Jaime said, and therefore it was important to demonstrate peace at the camp.
In Afghanistan, children have been victims of a cycle of violence for almost 30 years. Help the Afghan Children offers a peace education program in all of its schools to help children understand how to live peacefully.
Afghanistan is one of more than 40 countries where Global Family sponsors community-based education programs. These programs are designed to help school-age children gain confidence and skills for improving their lives and their communities.
The combined efforts of those who choose to support peacebuilding can go a long way, especially when compared to the finances required to pay for war.
Information from 2010 from National Priorities Project and its Cost of War website indicates that the U.S. spends approximately $3,300 per second to conduct the current war in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, $3,200 supports an MCC U.S. Summer Service worker for 10 weeks.
Calculations based on 2005 data from the U.S. Department of Defense indicate that the cost of one M-67 hand grenade used by U.S. forces is about $59.
A month’s support for 100 Afghan students enrolled in a peace education program is $65.
More details about “Turning toward peace” are available at mcc.org/wartaxes . Further information can be found on Global Family at globalfamily.mcc.org/ , and on the Summer Service program at mcc.org/usprogramservices/summerservice .