Nick Crabb, a Peace Partners volunteer living in Japan, recently interviewed Max Whittle, an integral member of the Kifubon project since its inception. We are very pleased to present the the first part of Nick’s interview. The second and concluding part will be featured next month.
To help create a culture of empathy and compassion, the Kifubon Project has now donated over 15,000 books to a variety of settings in Japan and the rest of the world. I spoke to Max Whittle about the Kifubon Project, how it is run and the challenges it has faced.
Hi Max, what does "kifubon" mean? And what does it mean to you?
Well, "kifubon" can be translated into the sharing of books in a society, and I suppose the theme of the Kifubon Project is the sharing of knowledge that's of value to humanity as a whole. Bunya publishing, who run the project, have the motto of "books for 100 years". The project therefore focuses on books with long-lasting messages of peace that people will still want to read even as times and technologies change. The project takes books that have value and creates a system for sharing them. People who enjoy one of the project's books can pay for one or several books to be donated to schools, hospitals, prisons etc., and help spread the book's message of peace. One book can stay where it's donated for decades and have a huge reach. For example, over 15,000 books have been donated in total, with about 30 to 40 people reading them, so hundreds of thousands of people have benefited from these books.
Could you tell us about the author of these books?
Prem Rawat, who is a peace activist that has addressed international audiences of over 15 million people and who's talks have been translated into over 75 languages. Prem's message has touched me personally and had a positive effect on my life. He has been travelling for more than 50 years, and I have travelled with him and seen how busy his schedule is. It has been Prem's quest to educate people about peace and how it's a daily choice we each have to make so we can all live in a kinder world. The Kifubon Project is another avenue for Prem to spread his message.
What are these books about?
Splitting the Arrow, which is titled "Peace is Possible" in the UK, was the first book Bunya publishing produced with Prem. This book contains short quotes and stories, and teachings from Prem's addresses through the years. The opening short story is called the Pot with the Hole, which was so popular it became a standalone book and animation.Of course everyone has their own interpretation, but for me, the core message of these books is that peace is not about countries coming together and signing a treaty etc. Instead, peace is something that manifests within a person. When this happens, the person needs an understanding and awareness that they are experiencing a feeling of well-being, of harmony and of things being right. However, this only sets them up, and they still have to choose to be more kind to others. Making this choice allows them to share their peace, not by them preaching, but by their mood and their positive effect on other people. If you scale this up, then hopefully you achieve more harmonious schools, workplaces, societies, countries and even planet. You cannot start from the planet and scale down with treaties. In the times we are living in, achieving peace of any kind can seem impossible, so we need to concentrate on ourselves and what we can do to bring ourselves to a peaceful and harmonious state. This is not an easy task, but it's not an impossible one.
Find out about UK Kifubon projects, now called Bedrock Books here.
Date : Sunday 3rd February
Time: 4.30pm to 7.00pm
Venue: Friends Meeting House,
47 Reigate Road, Reigate, RH2 0QT
We are delighted to host a presentation by Peace Partners in support of The Prem Rawat Foundation's global humanitarian efforts.
The presentation will provide an insight into the various activities being carried out in accordance with a vision of providing for basic human needs, and how these efforts can be supported.
In particular, the presentation will highlight the efforts being made by Peace Partners in association with the US based charitable organisation The Prem Rawat Foundation, with whom these aims are shared.
All are welcome to attend. There will be a number of short videos and the afternoon will be both enjoyable and inspirational. The event will consist of two one hour sessions, with a 30 minute refreshment break in between.
No registration fee will be required for this event, although any voluntary donations will be much appreciated. We look forward to seeing you in Reigate! Find out more here.
Directions: The Meeting House is on the A25, between Reigate and Redhill, on the right going towards Redhill. Located adjacent Reigate Grammar School. Stations: Reigate, 3/4 mile; Redhill, 1 1/4 miles.
Members of Peace Partners attended an exciting collaborative music project at Croydon Boxpark on Sunday 2nd December, featuring Croydon artists from different backgrounds combining to perform inspiring compositions.
UK Apache, well known for his 1994 hit ‘Original Nuttah’, closed the Croydon Composers 2018 show with 'Get Up' performed with Badmarsh and Shri. He had a message of peace for the crowd: “I don’t like the violence that’s going on,” he said, referencing the increasing trend of violent crime in London.
Mayor of Croydon Bernadette Khan also attended the event and gave a brief message.She said: “The issue of knife crime and lives being lost is awful,” adding, “lives must not go so terribly and so awfully.”
Peace Partners Introduction – Oxford, 9th December 2018
by Robin Watkins and Didge Hatcher
The train seemed to speed through the heart of England as it followed the route of the Thames river upstream, to Oxford, the city of the dreaming spires. After days of rain, today was lighter and clearer, and I was attending a small event in the afternoon which had been organised locally to promote support for the work of The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF).
Oxford on an early Sunday in December is a busy place, full of tourists and Christmas market shoppers and students. Approaching the small meeting house venue I passed by an Oxfam shop, the internationally known charity started here and took its name from the town, and then the Eagle and Child pub, once frequented by illustrious authors JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.
In the midst of England's oldest scholastic centre I remembered that in 2005 TPRF founder Prem Rawat had been invited here to speak at the university. Just a few years before he had started the Foundation that bears his name.
The event was an intimate and informal introduction to the work of Peace Partners to seventeen local Oxford attendees. It was very ably managed by Emma Thomas who commented, ‘this is a really lovely opportunity for the people of Oxford to find out more about what Peace Partners actually does.’
Pauline Cook, Finance Manager and Trustee, talked us through several evocative videos revealing the purposes of the Peace Education Programme and The Food for People centres which have been initiated and are being maintained in several countries by TPRF.
There was also an opportunity for people to volunteer for a role with the charity. Didge Hatcher, a newly recruited Trustee, spoke briefly about her excitement at her role and her recognition of the potential for growth in Peace Partners.
Much tea and cake was enjoyed in the break, with opportunities for old friends to catch up. Two visitors from the Midlands Hindi community were hoping to arrange their own introductions to Peace Partners in their area. At the end Outreach Manager David Windsor sat with them to discuss possible arrangements for those events.
Everyone was delighted by the opportunity to wish Prem Rawat a happy birthday. Robin Watkins, who edits the eBulletin, invited us all to be filmed saying ‘Happy birthday Prem’, which of course we did with great enthusiasm!
A Peace Education Programme (PEP) is being hosted by Peace Talks Manchester at lunchtime on several Fridays in December, January, February and March in central Manchester.
The course will be held at:
the Nexus Art Cafe, 2 Dale Street, Manchester M1 1JW
(opposite Vinyl Exchange)
Friday 1pm - 2pm:
14th, 21st December
4th, 11th, 18th, 25th January
1st, 8th, 15th 22nd February
1st, 8th March
entry is free
The purpose of PEP is to help participants discover their own inner resources - tools for living such as inner strength, choice and hope - and the possibility of personal peace.
The course, which is non-religious and non-sectarian, is based on the talks of Prem Rawat, an international speaker on the subject of personal peace. It is facilitated by volunteers and consists of weekly videos, each focusing on a particular theme.
Download and print the PEP flyer (with full details) :
If you know of someone in the Manchester region who might benefit from this peace course, please let them know about it. If you require more information then email the Peace Talks Manchester contact Alan Wickham at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is not necessary to attend every session.
If you are a part of a group or team which are already working in this area in the region and would like to learn more about the benefits of PEP please email Alan.
Alan told Peace Partners that in part the motivation behind the Manchester PEP was "an awareness that whilst last year was the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, and there was a lot of publicity about it in the media, there is a real need to find more solutions to the personal issues facing someone affected by any severe conflict, and that peace education is a tool that can really help."
The Peace Education Programme is a Prem Rawat Foundation initiative and is being increasingly used in a variety of contexts. Find out more here.
As this tumultuous year draws to a close it feels more of a privilege than ever to be part of a growing movement that is helping to shine a light in the darkness, and helping to bring dignity, peace and prosperity to people in all corners of the world.
Read more here
One of the team from Peace Partners recently visited the Peace Wall, a mural along a highly visited section of Ebor Street in London, created by acclaimed UK street artist Ben Eine, with the words by Prem Rawat. It was a great reminder about this brightly coloured mural and the message it conveys, from June 2018.
Ben partnered with The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) to make the powerful statement that 'Peace is Possible' in response to rising knife crime in London. The message brings hope to communities and inspires people to work towards a practical solution.
The London Evening Standard featured the mural, and Ben stated: “The poignant words in Ebor Street, Shoreditch, are a reminder to both Londoners and visitors of the need to peacefully coexist in the capital."
Prem Rawat says: “We need to address the fundamental causes of violence to stop these terrible tragedies happening again. The voice of boredom for young people has become overwhelming. We need to re-engage them in society."
You can read the full article in the London Evening Standard here.
Read more on The Prem Rawat Foundation website here.
Have fun while raising funds for The Prem Rawat Foundation Campaign - Engaging in Peace
In the run up to Christmas Peace Partners is launching a seasonal Community Fundraising campaign.
The campaign will be running in tandem with Engaging with Change, an initiative being promoted by The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF), which acknowledges the phenomenal contributions made by donors and volunteers in addressing the fundamental needs of people for food, water and peace.
Where does your money go? All funds raised in this campaign will go to TPRF to enable the foundation to expand its key initiatives, Food For People (FFP) and the Peace Education Programme (PEP).
Did you know that, from January to September 2018, almost 350,000 nutritious meals were served to children and infirm elderly people in the FFP and outreach centres in India, Nepal and Ghana. The growth of PEP this year has has been outstanding and it is is now running in 84 countries, translated into 36 languages.
What can you do? Your imagination is the limit, but bearing in mind the time of year, there might be opportunities to sell craft gifts at Christmas markets, perhaps ‘Bake Off ` fans could join together to run a cake stall (followed by a sponsored run, to banish the inner cake?). Maybe by inviting friends to a coffee morning, you could raise funds and also highlight the work being undertaken by TPRF.
Individual donations are also very welcome, and there is a DONATE button on our Fundraising page to help you donate simply and quickly: you can start fundraising HERE.
Thank you to all our supporters who donated over £670.00 to help people recover from the recent earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia.
With this support The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) has provided $40,000 for critical medicines and medical supplies to those people in need.
The funds were granted to Americares, a charity that is working effectively on the ground and in partnership with local government officials and healthcare providers, who respond to the urgent needs that have developed since the disasters hit on September 2018. The earthquake toppled buildings while a towering 20-foot wave washed over coastal communities on the island of Sulawesi, killing more than 2,000 people and forcing tens of thousands more from their homes.
TPRF responded immediately with $15,000 in aid, TPRF’s and Peace Partners generous supporters added $25,000 to that amount, ensuring that many more people will receive the ongoing assistance they need. A huge thank-you to all those in the UK who supported this, making a difference to the lives of many.
"Our hearts go out to the people who have been traumatized by these tragedies. Thank you to all of the donors who put TPRF in a stronger position to help people during their darkest hours,” says TPRF Board Chair Linda Pascotto.
See how your donation is helping
Read the full article on The Prem Rawat Foundation site.
Students of the University of York have expressed interest in finding out more about running the Peace Education Programme in a prison setting after the film ‘Inside Peace’ was screened at the university in October.
The film event was well received by the Department of Criminology and was held in conjunction with CrimNet, the university’s research network on crime and criminal justice.
‘Inside Peace’ is a multi-award-winning film which follows the journey of inmates in a Texas prison as they persevere in living a life of peace.