Some members of the People’s Peace Movement, the PPM, have sold out some of their properties, including three shops and a health clinic, to fund the expenses of their gatherings and marches from one province to another, the activists acknowledged.
The activists said they want to continue raising their voice for peace as it is their main goal.
But, one member of the movement, Pacha Khan Mawladad, said their activities have been partially stopped in recent weeks due to financial constraints.
The People’s Peace Movement, also called the Helmand Peace Convoy, initially started their marches for peace when a group of at least a dozen activists staged a protest in the city of Lashkargah last year in March 2018 against an attack that killed around 16 people that month. About a month later, the activists left Helmand and marched on foot towards Kabul.
The activists walked through towns and villages, crossed provinces and met with local residents along the way. For 38 days, they walked and as they progressed, so their numbers grew.
About 700kms later, the group of eight had grown to an estimated 100. They arrived in Kabul on June 18 of 2019 and handed over demands for a ceasefire and peace to both the Afghan government and the Taliban.
During their stay in Kabul, they held sit-in protests outside diplomatic offices in Kabul. They also met with President Ghani on a Kabul street where they asked him to accelerate the peace efforts.
The activists, whose ages ranged from 17 to 65, came from all walks of life and include students, athletes and farmers among others. It was these and other activists that then extended their walk from Kabul to Balkh.
The activists are now in Lashkargah city in Helmand province continuing their efforts for peace.
Some members of the movement said that so far they have not received financial support from any organization or government.
“I urge national investors to support us financially,” said Zmarai Zaland, a member of the movement.
Abdul Ali, a Helmand resident, said he bought a shop five months ago from the PPM member Pacha Khan Mawladad, for 900,000 Pakistani rupees ($5,600).
“I was renting this shop for 12 to 13 years and paying the rent to Pacha Khan. Three months ago, I bought the shop,” Ali said.
Head of the movement, Iqbal Khyber, said he sold his OPD clinic to fund the activities of the movement.
“This clinic was operating under the name of Spozhmay, but three months ago, we started our activities here,” a doctor in Lashkargah Abdul Wali said.