Amandine Roche, the founder of the Amanuddin Foundation, which brings yoga and meditation to the people of Afghanistan, is an extraordinary woman. She is an award-winning photojournalist, a published author of four books, a meditation teacher, a consultant for the world’s leading peacekeeping operations, and a scholar in the fields of international humanitarian law and political science. The French-born humanitarian has spent over a decade in Afghanistan educating citizens about how to sustain peace in society and at a personal level. “I ask all the kids, ‘What is peace?’ And you know, they were born in a war-torn country, but they all know what peace is … You are born like that. Of course they spoke about peace of mind, peace in the community, peace in the family … But I realized our goal is to preserve this naiveté, or genuine mind.”
In this video, Sonima founder Sonia Jones sits down with Roche to hear her story and learn about the philosophy and ideology of Roche’s mission and life’s work. “Amanuddin” means “religion of peace” in Farsi, and one of Roche’s goals is to help Afghani citizens attain inner peace even in the midst of intense societal turmoil. According to Roche, 90% of people in Afghanistan struggle with some form of untreated PTSD from the war, including depression and anxiety. Yoga and mindfulness offer tools for people to use as they work through their suffering. In spite of the poverty, intense inequality, and the aftermath of war, Roche is incredibly optimistic and remains dedicated to her work. Watch the video above to hear from the hero herself.
By Sonia Jones