Striving for peace in Afghanistan- from Singapore to Kabul
Mr. Wee Tech Young is a 50-year-old Singaporean aid worker who runs a non-profit organization in Kabul. Wee is a peace activist who believes the Afghans need peace more than anything else.
Wee Tech Young, a 50-year-old Singaporean aid worker, comes to his Kabul-based office, every working day, to promote peace. Mr. Wee logs in to his laptop and reads international outlets to learn about the latest development in the world. He archives all good news, hoping his efforts will add something good to the world.
In 2012, Wee along with a dozen
Afghan youth established a non-profit organization called the Afghan Peace Volunteers,
aiming to work for an equal, violence-free and green world.
To achieve his objectives, Wee left
a comfortable life in Singapore, and came to war-torn Afghanistan to make a
contribution in promoting peace and equality.
“I really have fun here,” said 13-year old Faridon who works on the street as shoe shiner. “I learn Math, Dari, non-violence education, and life skills in the Border Free School,” he said. The school is run by Afghan Peace Volunteers.
Beyond education, there is
another incentive that wakes Faridon up early morning to attend the classes:
The Afghan Peace Volunteers distributes
food to the children who attend the Border Free School, once a month.
Singaporean aid worker Wee works with 80 young volunteers to make the world a better
Before dedicating his life to humanitarian works, Wee used to run a private
clinic in Singapore. By a sheer accident, he happened to encounter a rich
patient who was struggling with cancer. “You are young and have a bright
future,” the patient wrote in a piece of paper to Wee. “I have enough money to
support three generations, but they don’t help me. Don’t be like me. And don’t
be slave of money.”
passed away but his message preoccupied Wee’s mind for years, and changed his
life in the years to come. Wee seized a golden opportunity to work as a
humanitarian worker in an international organization as a doctor to treat
Afghan refugees in Quetta, Pakistan.
he developed a strong friendship with 10-year-old Afghan refugee Najib. They often
would hang out, have friendly conversations about Najib’s life, background and
his parents who were killed in a U.S. airstrike in Kandahar province of
Afghan refugees would call Lee Hakim, a word that became his nickname in
we wanted to pose for a photo, and I asked Najib to smile for it,” said Wee. “His
grandmother shouted that Najib had no reason to smile. I was saddened by it and
I still remember the scene.”
After his friendship with Najib, Wee Tech Young decided to explore Afghanistan. He packed his bags, and left Quetta for Bamyan, where he settled down, and worked as a doctor. Wee opened up a medical training center and lived in remote villages of Bamyan to educate locals about medical care.
Wee shifted his efforts from medical services to peace building, and settled in
the capital, Kabul. “During my work as a doctor, I realized that
Afghans needed much more than a doctor,” he said. “There are different areas of
life that are much vital for Afghans, like peace and security.”
Since 2012, Wee along with a dozen
Afghan volunteers have been working on agriculture projects and setting up solar
systems to fight global warming and climate change. They run a tailoring workshop
business, in which a volunteer group are shareholders.
“The very basic change, that I feel comes from my experience of working with Lee is that I feel more sympathetic for street children and poor people,”
said Naser Lesani, a 22-year old university student and volunteer at Afghan Peace Volunteers.
These peace volunteers, under
the supervision of Mr. Wee, initiated a campaign OurJourneyToSmile, in which
they promote peace and say no to war across the world. People from 74 countries
have signed in and are part of the campaign.
“She was right about Najib,”
Wee said, pointing Najib’s grandmother’s saying in Quetta. “He had no reason to
smile, but we have to create a world where everyone can find many reasons to