"If we are to reach peace in the world we shall have to begin with children," said Mahatma Gandhi.
Today, a vast majority of games and sports that are played have the overruling factor of competition. A desire to win is the main objective. Winning, of course, has the feeling of being great, glowing with the achievement of having won. But losing, on the other hand, gives the loser a feeling of inadequacy and failure. The number of players who can win, compared to the number of losers, is small. The contrast with this is the way of playing where everyone can win.
A few years ago the Gandhi Foundation in London published an Educational Pack: Let's Cooperate, an introduction to cooperative games. The pack consists of two books and a video film Let's Co-operate. The author of this invaluable pack is Ms. Mildred Masheder.
This provides a wealth of information about cooperative games as well as activities for peaceful conflict resolution. The Gandhi Foundation was attracted to these two elements: cooperative and peaceful conflict resolution.
Why co-operative games? Well, all players find it mutually beneficial to help one another. The pleasure comes from working together, rather than being the only winner. Seeing the world in turmoil, the Foundation believed that citizens of tomorrow should work cooperating with others in a nonviolent and peaceful way.
When attending one of the Gandhi summer Schools in the U. K. the author first explained the ideas behind the method; then showed the video-film, but most important, put us all, children and adults to play themselves. It was a real hit and both kids and adults enjoyed it greatly.
The two books contain about 400 games that rely on collaborative efforts of the players to achieve a joint aim. Besides that, the author has avoided being exclusively western in choosing games. There are games from other parts of the world, making the effort really international, such as a Takraw a game played in Thailand, Dithwai from Lestho in South Africa, Shash na Pani from Afghanistan, Guli danda Known in many Asian countries, Dalpauay from Philippines.
The games are lessons of sharing and give and take.