Omar's story

Many communities in Europe include people with strong links to countries that are affected by violent conflict, such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria. These external conflicts can influence community attitudes and behaviours in diaspora groups in Europe, as well as government policies.

Omar, who is of Somali heritage, took part in Diversity, a joint project by International Alert and YMCA Hayes bringing together young people from different diaspora communities to explore how conflict in their countries of heritage or origin affects their lives in the UK, and what actions they can take to promote peace – both here and abroad.

"At Diversity, young people share their opinions and talk about the differences between their countries and conflicts, and the problems. If I hadn’t been to Diversity, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have more confidence and I really want to make a difference.

"You can see young kids dealing drugs who are the same age as me. But their parents don’t know and the government doesn’t know. They don’t have a choice. They do it because they see their friends doing it, but they get to a stage where they can’t come back and they have to keep doing it.

"Diversity is a really good project because it has changed a lot of young people's lives."

By supporting our work today, you can help more young people like Omar better understand issues of conflict and learn how they can help build peace. Donate today.