We are Barri and Roger Sanders, the children of Murray and Sandy and have traveled the globe throughout our professional lives; I, Barri within my position at the Center for Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland and after retiring in 1999 as Peace Studies Coordinator in Taos for the University of New Mexico and Roger, my husband and partner as a physician first in the UK and then for 20 years at Johns Hopkins.

We both noticed that the violence we witnessed only created new anger and resulted in increased violence. It reminded me of the Dr. Seuss story of The Butter Battle Book. Simple differences can escalate and destroy the hope of harmony. While I traveled I saw this happen in the Post Soviet Union, where both intra and inter national conflicts among the newly independent nations destroyed former friends, family and neighborhoods. Roger noticed the disturbance that poverty, lack of good well-trained accessible health care did in many corners of the globe.

We determined that the lessons we learned about sharing, being fair, using resources wisely and putting values into practice came from following in paths that our fathers had laid down by example. We gathered our annual contribution amount and determined we could set aside a small amount annually as a grant or loan to help men escape the culture of violence and become responsible members of family, community and the nation. That was the birth of SMMF. It has maintained its mission and expanded in ways that small annual contributions have helped a few survivors of violence become peaceful citizens.

We have seen the joy of helping people to be successful and then to help others around them. These are our stories and we have decided to share them and perhaps inspire others to work with us or with others we’ve met who care personally about individuals who find violence the only way to survive. As you can see we’ve aimed help toward men, not because women aren’t lacking and subjected to violence, because our experience is that men continue to find solutions in returning to violence more readily.