“Give when you can. Help when it’s needed. Be the change you want to see in the world= The world will be a better place starting with you.” The Domino Movement
The Domino Movement believes that everyone is a domino waiting to be pushed in the right direction. Once they know which way to fall, they can cause a ripple effect of change around the world. We at Project: AK-47 are always excited to help and empower others to tell their stories, so when The Domino Movement asked us to be a part of their story, we jumped at the chance. Here is my recent interview with them.
Why do you think people should care about Project: AK-47? Imagine, if you will, a child of 8. It may be your daughter or grandson, maybe your nephew or next door neighbor. Now, imagine that child with a machine gun. He’s covered in mud, the filth of war worn on a face meant for innocence. But for three years, this child hasn’t known the safety of innocence. This child has had a machine gun in his hands. He is skin and bones, and doesn’t know his name. He hasn’t needed one. He is only a number with a gun, a disposable commodity, a throw-a-way life. That is why we must care. This child was not meant to be a killer. He was meant to be a little boy that would grow into a dreamer, a father, a friend. This child should not be the face of war, but the face of the future. We can give him the future he deserves. We must. That is why we should care.
What would you say has been Project: AK-47’s greatest accomplishment to date? Let me give you just one example in the Philippines of many success stories world-wide. Edgardo was trained as an assassin from childhood. His father dragged him to the riverbank to gaze at the bodies of his three aunts who had been raped and killed by the opposition army. Every day, his father would take him to the beach and have him shoot bottles out of the air. When he missed, he was punished. By 12 years old, Edgardo was a skilled gunfighter and sniper. He recalled his first assassination at age 14, which he carried out by emptying all 30 rounds of his M-16 magazine into the man. You would think a hardened killer like Edgardo would be a lost cause, but years later, he is one of the most compassionate, caring people you will ever meet. Instead of a man driven by hatred, he now runs a Project AK:47 initiative that helps train children on a community farm and equips them with agricultural skills. Four national staff members currently run the project, two of which are former child soldiers.
Is there anything else you would like to share? I am constantly reminded of a lyric in a Brooke Fraser song, “Now that I have seen, I am responsible.” This keeps me focused on days where comfort creeps in with its apathy or the magnitude of what we are trying to accomplish seems too overwhelming. Now that I have seen the footage of innocence lost, now that I have become aware of the atrocities against children, I have a responsibility to do something about it. No matter my circumstance, as long as I have a voice, 2 hands and 2 feet, I can be a catalyst for change. That’s the perspective I try to maintain, and if I can be forthright, is the perspective I would encourage Dominoes and the world to maintain.