A New Era

I’m excited to say that a new era has begun for me.  Check out my updated Aja Certified website and blog at www.ajacertified.org.  

Logo in Star


Behind the Scenes

It has been quite some time since I have written a blog… I have been busy behind the scenes preparing for another big phase aboard the Global Peace Train.  I am excited to say that we have been around for almost 5 years and it is just this year we are preparing for a more public launch.  I feel a bit like the wizard of oz behind a curtain and the big face that everyone sees will appear as the face of the train.  You can imagine how long it has taken to get the tracks fashioned to the ground, the set just right and the great hall filled with the right people. It has taken 5 years to understand the workings of the train, what each lever does and the perfect speed to take around curves.  In real world terms I have been busy with the nuts and bolts of running this non-profit organization.  How to keep balance within my own life, how to have the greatest impact for the people we serve, how to deliver our services on time and with grace.  How to integrate strong accounting systems, customer service protocols, and most of all, how to blend modern business systems in with traditional cultures. Our Tribal Traditions program is stronger than ever and I am excited to begin the painting of the official Tribal Traditions train car that will accommodate the Lakota Sioux project as well as any other tribal projects that may follow. Take a look at the full-sized toy train unfinished, it was hand-made by Wayne Montz of California. As you can see he is a talented master of toy trains!  This train is almost 7 feet long, stands 12 inches high and rides on a 14 foot track.  G-P-37

Everyday I realize this train does things I didn’t know before and I am preparing myself for the real deal… This is the last round of tests before the launch of the new Global Peace Train website, and I am in training as a humble servant to humanity.  My wish is for this train to continue to gain momentum and for the systems to be strong enough to support humanity as we move ever closer to our own awakening.

I’m looking forward to the formal unveiling soon!



Aja’s video entry for the Make Market, Launch It contest

This is my first informational video about bringing my expertise to market and sharing the amazing stories that I have discovered along the way…

I long to help parents and teachers communicate difficult issues in a lighthearted way so that our future generation can better understand the human experience and their relationship to challenging experiences.




Sacred Perception

The star quilts made by the women of the Tribal Traditions of the Lakota Sioux are stunning, something special indeed. They are used in many of the traditions of the Lakota people. For example when a couple gets married they are put under a star quilt during the marriage ceremony. I often sit in one when I want to feel connected to something bigger than myself, perhaps what the Lakota call Wakan Tanka“the great mystery”. It feels like the act of wrapping myself in one of the quilts brings heightened awareness and an opportunity for me to see things from a bigger point of view. Sometimes I even sit in them with others when I want to connect more deeply.

The quilts have some power that is hard to put into words. Perhaps it’s because the quilts, the women who make them and the medicine man Sam Moves Camp have been teaching me over the duration of this wonderful project. It is possible the knowledge connects me to my higher wisdom because I have “labeled” the quilts sacred, or maybe they really do have some power beyond words! It’s hard to know for sure. Take some time to learn more about the Tribal Traditions project, the Lakota people, how to donate, or buy a quilt at: www.tribaltraditions.org.


The Ride on the Global Peace Train, Overcoming Poverty Mind

I was born in a midwife’s bed. My mother and father were homeless and sleeping on any fold out couch they could find. I was raised in the welfare system and when I turned 18 was confronted with the climb out of poverty. At times I didn’t know if I would make it another day, and the sadness and desperation were overwhelming.

As I allowed my experience and the people around me to teach me, I began to see that poverty wasn’t a result of how much money I had, but more a state of mind. I could have one dollar to my name and feel like the richest person on earth if my experience was ripe and colorful. There were also times that I had tens of thousands of dollars in my bank account and I felt isolated and scared for the moment it might run out.

I am often shocked at the joy I see in slums around the world. Through the media I was trained to believe people in Africa or others in extreme poverty are always sad. I was shocked the first time I went into a slum and saw orphaned children playing and laughing just like back home but without the plastic toys. It was at that moment I realized they were human and not just some alienated picture on TV.

I haven’t yet mastered the climb out of poverty, but working on the Global Peace Train with women in the slums of Kenya and the Pine Ridge Reservation has helped me see how fortunate I am. I aspire to master this climb alongside the many women the Global Peace Train serves, and share what we learn along the way.

May we all free our minds,


Lighting up the Slums

I have spent many hours in slums around the world, and they are dark.  The buildings are built very close and usually have no natural light source if there is light at all. Click the link below to see how one man is bringing light to the people living in the poorest communities in the Philippines. I love this project.  It just goes to show you that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be a genius!  CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW LINK

GBaby and the Climb Out of Poverty, by Aja Duniven

How can a story help us climb out of poverty? I often find myself touched by the stories of people who have been through extreme difficulties and moved beyond them. That is why I work with toys to tell a story. Just like when I was a child I can look at a toy and use my imagination to weave together an outrageous story. It is my love for imagination that drove me to begin interviewing other people to see what wonderful stories would surface from their real life and imagination.

GBaby’s character was created out of interviews I did with real people around the world.
 He was literally bought from a young girl on a train in India and his story is born from the real life facts and spun together with many different people’s imaginations. The first public photo of him from last week shows where he began.  He was born an orphan on the streets of india, he lived on a trash pile in India selling recyclables for cash, and he dreamed of one day reaching America… 

One of my favorite things about GBaby is that his story is about some of the hardest circumstances to overcome: no mother or father, no money, no hope. He never gave up and fought all those challenges to make it to America to follow his dream of being a world-changing rapper. His story is still new, people don’t always know what to think of him, and he requires people to step out of their comfort zones in order to build the next part of his story. He hasn’t made it out of poverty just by arriving in America, his challenge now is to get people to believe in him… I bet you could imagine how hard it would be to believe a plastic doll could ever become a rapper. But I bet, as he goes on his journey we will have the opportunity to believe in something seemingly impossible and make it possible! 

GBaby Comes to Life

At long last GBaby is coming to life in animation!  I couldn’t wait to share this photo of him.  GBaby is a plastic doll that I bought on a train in India. He lived on a trash pile as an orphan before I found him and brought him to America to be a rapper. This is the first animation of him before he was found on the train.   I am so excited to share his story in 2012!


How to bridge the gap of communication with anyone:

From the outside it may look like I have things together, but most of the time I really have no idea what is going on. Just like everyone else I am in the middle of the wonderful unfolding called life. Some days I feel cheerful and optimistic, other days I am overwhelmed by the day to day things that must be attended to and unexpected events like death of a loved one.  In fact, I’m sending out a big rainbow of love this week for my dear Sofie who crossed over to whatever is on the other side of death and I’m taking plenty of time to feel sad too.  I could not see this death coming and yet I am here in the middle of the experience. The news has created a great opportunity as well, the opportunity to connect deeply with others who are also feeling impacted by Sofie’s abrupt death.

When I visit far off lands like Kenya or the Pine Ridge Reservation, I am reminded about what really matters… Connecting and communicating with others. The time in these places is slower and the people actually have time to deeply connect with each other. It doesn’t matter who I visit or where they live, there are several steps I always take in order to connect with others:

Trust: I must 1st build trust. I often do this by being vulnerable and beginning with what is human, suffering. When I open my heart to others and share my own suffering first, suddenly I appear human to them and they can often understand some aspect of my experience.

Train: I allow myself to be trained before I begin training. This step can spin out of control in a harmful way if I see myself as above or better than the people I am connecting with. It is most important to first allow myself to be trained or taught about what the people need or want most. After they have trained me on what life is like and where they want to go, then I can pull from my own experience and offer some useful tools. Above all else, I always remind myself that it is only out of my own experience that I can teach anything at all.

Transform: I allow transformation to occur. It is a process. In this step I must allow myself to be transformed and from that space others gain the opportunity to transform themselves as well. Just like the name of this blog! Change yourself, change the world. Following these three key communication tools I have been able to open doors with rich entrepreneurs, homeless alcoholics, gang members, and children and adults of all kinds.

Trust, Train, Transform is good to remember when seeking a deep communication with others: Build trust, allow yourself to be trained, and transform yourself first.


Invitation to Volunteer from Aja Duniven, Executive Director

We have some exciting news! Global Peace Train (GPT) is poised for growth, and we invite you to join our team and help us achieve that growth. Starting in January 2012, we are embarking on a number of new initiatives, and we are dependent on our volunteers to help make these projects successful. We are currently seeking enthusiastic individuals who are interested in taking a leadership role in specific committees and who have a passion for making a difference on a global level.

After carefully assessing our needs, we would like to add the following professional experience and skills to our volunteer organization:

  • Fund Development(Grant Writing, Major Giving Programs, Donor Relations, etc.)
  • Special Events(Major and Minor Events)
  • Marketing Communications(Social Media, Website Maintenance, E-blasts, Promotional Materials)
  • Call Center Management
  • Database Management
  • Project Management

As you can see, there are many ways to get involved. If you would like to join an amazing team of volunteers in 2012, please send a brief emaildescribing your interests and skills to aja@globalpeacetrain.org. We will be sure to follow up with you in a couple weeks and will provide more details regarding your selection(s). We expect to start our committee meetings the third week of January, 2012.

We thank you in advance and look forward to your participation in the coming year. Please know that your support will be greatly appreciated by the global communities that continue to endure extreme poverty and hardship and that your involvement will significantly raise local and international awareness!


Aja Duniven
Global Peace Train- Executive Director

Phone: 888-870-0020

Email: aja@globalpeacetrain.org



About Global Peace Train:

Founded in 2009, Global Peace Train (GPT) is a volunteer-based, Colorado nonprofit [501(c)3] that empowers some of the world’s most underprivileged communities to become self sufficient by custom fitting business models with traditional culture. We achieve our mission by collaboratively working with NGO’s and the most destitute populations all over the globe. Our goal is to provide the resources the communities need to lift themselves from poverty and to educate them in the skills they ask for in order to personally empower them towards a brighter future.

About our Programs:

To date, GPT efforts have involved micro-lending for women-led projects in Kenya*, economic development in the Lakota** Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and transformative programming with metro-Denver gang members.

*The Mission of theKenya Projectis to empower the native women and develop a sustainable program that can be handed over to the local participants when it is fully operational.  The objective of Miracles with Microloans© is to reduce poverty while creating dignity, not dependence. Miracles with Microloans© is designed to facilitate the empowerment of underserved women in the Kuwinda slum, using micro financing as a vehicle to develop sustainable community enterprises.  This microfinance program offers small loans to impoverished women so they can start small businesses and lift their families out of poverty.

**The Mission of the Lakota Project is to empower the native women to build an economy and share their tradition. By designing an e-commerce website and teaching them business skills, they learn how to bring their beautiful quilts to market with integrity and passion.http://youtu.be/Z9SYprRtPjA

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