PENHA Table of Hope
By Yusuf Dirie
There’s story about four candles burning in a room. The first one is peace. The second faith. The third love. The final hope. The first three candles went out. The final one did not. It was used to re-light the others. The moral of this story is simple – if hope stays lit then even if love, faith and peace can be re-ignited.
The dominant news stories of the Horn of Africa paint a sad picture. Think climate change, drought, conflict, insecurity and the migration crisis to name but a few. It is easy to think that region is either just leaving a crisis or heading into one. For those who love, cherish and call the Horn home this is incredibly sad. By focusing on these stories it is easy to lose hope. Yet there are other stories. Pastoralism is one shining example. The dreams and aspirations of the people of the Horn another. There is much to draw hope from.
PENHA was established 25 plus years ago on a vision of hope. The future of the Horn should be designed by, and for, its people. This vision still holds. PENHA is currently repositioning itself with a firm eye on building hopeful futures. The PENHA Table of Hope is an on-going art project that will allow all those who engage with PENHA to contribute their hopes for the future of the, Horn.
PENHA recently celebrated African Legacy and Pastoralists Livelihoods: A Cultural Night in London. Those who attended where invited to dream and tell us their hopes for the future. PENHA asked, they responded. Here are a few:
“United and Prosperous – our wealth reflecting our resources”
“A cradle of flourishing cultures – city dwellers, farmers and nomadic peoples.”
“Good leadership and sustainable peace”
“Peace, harmony and a borderless Horn of Africa where everybody can contribute”
“A Horn of peace and opportunity”
“Freedom and peace for all - including the animals”
PENHA views hope as more than a feeling. These hopes are not just wishful thinking. They are the foundational building blocks upon which a future can be built. They provide direction in which efforts can be actualised. It is the very thing that makes the work we do worth doing. PENHA will continue to put Hope on the table and we invite you all to contribute. Because as Maya Angelou reminds us: If you desire a bright tomorrow, you must build a brighter dream.
Yusuf Dirie is PENHA Research Fellow and a PhD Candidate at the University of Sussex.
Photo Credit: Joanna Lumley OBE and PENHA Patron was one of the people contributed to the Table of Hope. AIL TV, Joseph Adamson