Peacefund Canada and its continuing support for Peace Brigades International
As noted by Quaker.org, “Peacefund Canada was founded in 1985 by a group of Canadians which included a number of Quakers. Its purpose was to encourage and support education programs which challenge people to believe in and work for peace.”
A paper prepared for The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada further explains, “Its goal is to encourage and support adult peace educators and other learners in their efforts to build a more humane, non-violent and demilitarized world. Its mission is to fund peace education projects in Canada and around the world.”
That paper adds, “Peacefund Canada is also actively involved in the international initiative for a Global Non-violent Peace Force. Its mission is to mobilize and train an international non-violent, standing peace force which will deploy to conflict areas to protect human rights and prevent death and destruction, thus creating the space for local groups to struggle, enter into dialogue, and seek peaceful resolution.”
Murray Thomson remembers, “The fund itself came out of a weekend in Orillia. We met in the home of Gordon and Jane Ball, two ex-CUSO volunteers who lived in same community co-op as Ed and Vivien Abbott of Simcoe-Muskoka Friends Meeting.”
Quaker.org continues, “The beneficiaries of the fund are usually individuals working on small, specific concerns. About 350 projects have been supported by the fund in 35 countries. Among those in past years benefitting from Peacefund Canada funding were Karen Ridd, a Peace Brigades International volunteer.”
In June-July 1986, Peace Magazine reported on the $10,000 in grants dispersed by Peacefund Canada for peace related initiatives. In April-May 1987, Peace Magazine also reported, “Peacefund Canada is continuing fund-raising and providing support to peace projects in Canada and abroad.”
In 1991, as noted by Inter Pares, “Peacefund Canada organized a seminar in Ottawa to raise the profile of the human rights and refugee situation in Burma. An important outcome of the Ottawa seminar was the founding of the Canadian Friends of Burma. [This] was the precursor of the Canadian NGO Committee on Burma which formed in 2000.”
The paper prepared for The Council of Ministers of Education in October 2001 recounts, “In 1999 alone, the PFC supported over 30 initiatives in conflict-ridden areas such as Sierra Leone, Zambia, East Timor, India, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Guatemala. All activities are part of a collective effort by individuals to reduce the pervasiveness of violence and suffering in their communities through education.”
In 2005, Peacefund Canada provided financial support for the film Let Them Stay, that featured “one-on-one interviews with U.S. war resisters in Canada, documenting their life-changing experiences in Iraq and the hidden realities of U.S. military recruitment and warfare.” That film also documented the work of the War Resisters Support Campaign.
Now, as noted on the CanadaHelps.org online fundraising page, “The mandate of Peacefund Canada Foundation is to raise money from individual donors for the work of Peace Brigades International-Canada.”
Peace Brigades International is a global movement of activists seeking justice and peace, supporting and standing in solidarity with threatened human rights defenders across the world. PBI’s aim is to protect and support these individuals and organizations; strengthen their physical, digital and political security; and enhance their well-being.
The work of country groups, such as Peace Brigades International-Canada, is fundamental to the protective accompaniment of human rights defenders. PBI-Canada works to raise the visibility of at-risk human rights defenders (through articles, social media), to amplify the voices of human rights defenders (through speaking tours), and helps to recruit volunteers and secure funding for PBI’s field work.