Peace Mala National Youth Awards winners

South Wales Evening Post – July 5, 2006
Peace Mala Award had to hand it to these pupils

article by Kay Byrne

Pupils from Ysgol Gynradd Brynamman Joint winners of the Peace Mala National Youth Awards 2006
Pupils from Ysgol Gynradd Brynamman – joint winners of the Peace Mala National Youth Awards 2006

Children from Ysgol Gynradd Brynaman have beaten schools from across Wales hands-down in promoting a message of world peace and understanding.

The Welsh school pupils cut out shapes of their hands to encircle a globe depicting the world and all the major world religions. Their imagination and enthusiasm won them joint first prize in the first National Peace Mala Youth Awards.

Peace Mala was set up by former religious education teacher Pam Evans, from Morriston, after 9/11.

“I wanted to do something to tackle the rise of Islamaphobia and racism after 9/11, and to encourage tolerance and friendship,” said Pam.

The Peace Mala is a bracelet of rainbow coloured beads, each one representing a different faith or religion, which is used as a teaching aid in schools.

Its message of tolerance between different faiths was endorsed by Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama and Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.

It is also a firm favourite with singing star Bonnie Tyler, who helped launch the Peace Mala youth competition.

She said, “Every religion says we should treat people as we would like to be treated ourselves, and if we stick to that then the world will be a better place.”

The Brynaman children took up the Peace Mala challenge in style.

“The children from Brynaman blew me away with their energy and enthusiasm,” said Pam, who previously taught as Head of Religious Studies at Coedcae School in Llanelli.

“The whole class was involved, including a disabled child and children from different ethnic backgrounds. They made a beautiful papier mache globe and superimposed impressions of their hands around it in a symbol of friendship around the world.”

Pontygof Primary from Ebbw Vale, was joint first-prize winner. Also highly commended for their Peace Mala efforts were First Llansamlet Brownies, the Ethnic Youth Support Team (Swansea) and Swansea College. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in the WCIA Temple of Peace in Cardiff in September 2006.

Leave a Reply