Sharing stories, lighting candles at a (virtual) picnic for peace
Tuesday marks the International Day of Peace, and while the Shepparton community can't gather together, more than 100 people across the city will come together online to light a candle for Afghanistan.
Organised by Picnic 4 Peace, the annual event is designed to bring people together in solidarity against war across the globe, but this year's event has a focus on Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country last month.
Picnic 4 Peace vice president Hussain Haidari, who moved from Afghanistan to Shepparton in 2015, said it was for people to stand in solidarity with victims of the takeover, particularly women and children.
“The crisis in Afghanistan was a great challenge. Peace means freedom of speech, safety and security for children,” Mr Haidari said.
“We want to come together in one place to show sympathy and support for the people who are victims. People in hiding, threats on their lives."
Mr Haidari said he'd been able to contact some friends who were still back in Afghanistan and said Tuesday's night's Zoom event was about trying to come together.
“Sharing these stories and bringing them into the public is what we're doing, it shows we're human,” he said.
“It's a platform for us to come together to share our cultures and the stories behind our lives.”
Picnic 4 Peace president Liz Arcus said there was a "huge community" of Afghans in Shepparton who were suffering because of the takeover, and the online event was designed to support them and victims of war across the globe.
The meeting has been hosted by GOTAFE, and Ms Arcus expressed her thanks for its involvement.
She said anyone was welcome to come along and encouraged people to have candles ready to be lit.
“I encourage everyone to come along and support our community,” she said.
The Zoom meeting can be found at https://gotafe-vic-edu-au.zoom.us/j/98761880421, and the meeting ID is 987 6188 0421.
Head to Picnic 4 Peace Facebook page for more information.