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PEACE COUNTS

Citizens for Peace enabled students of Burhani College to attend and be trained by the Peace Counts team from Germany. The training was hosted by INSAF, Delhi. We present the students’ experiences, in their own words.

 

Report

Students of Burhani College have shown the best of their potential to construct PEACE around the world.

A group of five students(Maryam, Aarefa, Aamir, Prateek, Naseer) from the BMM & BMS stream are associated with the ‘Peace Counts’ project which is initiated by a German based NGO-‘Institute for Peace Education’; its motive is to spread Peace around the globe. The ‘Peace Counts’ team travels around the world displaying different conflicts and ‘Conflict Resolution’ stories to motivate and inspire human beings to promote peaceful ideas to answer any conflict. Their aim is to distract viewer’s gaze from mere scenes of war to the root cause and solution of the conflict.

This peaceful initiative taken by the Germans has also invited Indians to work hand in hand. Social activists from Manipur , Orissa , Delhi and Mumbai are trying their best to provoke the Indian hearts to multiply peace around their world.

The students of Burhani College were invited for a six day workshop followed by an exhibition demonstrating different conflict and their resolution stories. Each day of the workshop showcased two successful peace stories followed by an activity which would add to the participants interest towards the workshop. The German facilitators were greatly inspiring and encouraging and very soon cultivated a friendly relation with the students.

After the completion of the workshop the students were certified as the Official members of the ‘Peace Counts’ tour in India.

This certification inspired the beginners to begin with the mission-to spread PEACE. They started with conducting the same workshop in their own College. It was 3 day workshop, started on 13th July and was attended by 20 students from all the streams of the College. They discussed about the various conflicts and exchanged ideas for the resolution of the conflict. It was a very interactive and interesting session which encouraged both the organizers and the participants of the workshop to evoke the Peace builder that we all have within our souls.

At the last day of the workshop i.e 15th July, the students organized an exhibition presenting successful stories of various selfless and hardworking peace builders world wide which was inaugurated by eminent personalities like Mr.Farroukh Sheikh & Mrs. Dolly Thakore ( Trustee, CfP) & other members from Citizens for Peace.

The guests and the principal of the college in their speech appreciated the peaceful efforts taken by the students and encouraged them to proceed in their mission .

Our experiences
The Peace counts project is initiated by a German based NGO named Institute for Peace Education ,it documents successful peace projects from around the world and introduces these charismatic peace builders to millions of people through the peace counts exhibition.

The peace counts team travel around the world showcasing different conflict and conflict resolution stories to motivate and inspire people to work for and promote peace as it is the need of the hour with the war, riots and conflicts becoming the media spectacle. It captivates us with images in which missiles explode, people threaten and kill each other. Peace is less conspicuous but there are fascinating ways of presenting peace and that is exactly what peace counts project does . Their aim is to distract the viewer’s gaze from mere scenes of war to the root causes and solutions of the conflicts. They have identified 30 crisis zones around the world but the good news is that India does not come under that list and I wonder why is that so, means in India also there are a lot of conflicts , riots ,crimes, terror attacks etc. Seeing this the peace counts team felt the need to bring these inspiring stories to India too.

Then begins our journey, we students from Burhani college got an invitation to attend a 6 day workshop followed by an exhibition from citizens for peace in march 2009. Initially when we were told about it, we honestly thought it would be a serious ,formal and not that interesting workshop. Finally we landed in Delhi looking forward for our first day with a very negative mindset about it but as we went for our 1st session whoa! It was totally contradictory to what we thought .We already had a huge smile on our faces looking at those charming, friendly German facilitators .

In the workshop we were exposed to different conflict and peace building stories from around the world which were greatly inspiring

and encouraging, it put us to think that peace can also exist in the worst of the situation. Every day we had one or two successful peace stories followed by an activity or exercise which would involve us completely in to the workshop with the excellent material they provided us and of course it was fun , we used to work in groups and got a chance to interact with other people from different walks of life like social activists from Manipur, Orissa and Delhi they were all so wonderful and being the only student’s group we were always loved and appreciated and that feeling was really overwhelming. More than anything we gained a lot of knowledge about other countries, about which we had never even heard till then and we learned a lot about the culture of conflicts, qualities of a peace builder etc. . by the end of the last day of the workshop as we had the completion certificates in our hands we were the official members of the peace counts tour in India . Now, we had to facilitate the peace counts workshop and exhibition in Mumbai, which we did in our college. We had a 3 day workshop followed by an exhibition. It was a very difficult job to cover all that we had learned in 6days in to a 3 day workshop but then where there is a will , there is a way, so somehow we managed to prepare a 3 day schedule , we selected the best 5 stories and the most important activities.


The workshop begun on the 13th , it was attended by 20 students from our college as participants. We exposed them to different conflict stories and had discussions on it, we tried our best to provide them with a space for interaction and slowly but successfully we achieved what we wanted. By involving them in various group activities we exchanged some wonderful ideas, thoughts and experiences on peace and peace building . The 2^nd day we went a bit deeper in to the culture of conflict and exchanged our ideas and solutions for it and interestingly we got some very intelligent answers. The last day was for discovering the peace builder in them by asking them about the qualities a peace builder should have and questions pertaining to it and participants came up with excellent suggestions . and then we told them about Mr.Bhau Korde from Dharavi.

 

 

THE DHARAVI STORY : WE ARE ALL ONE

THE CONFLICT: Communal tension

THE PEACEBUILDERS: late Mr. Waqar Khan and Mr.Bhau Korde

THEIR SOLUTION: communication and dialogue

THE RESULT: open-minded people and communal harmony

The slum of Dharavi in Mumbai is listed in the Guinness world records as the largest slum in Asia. Post 1992-93 Mumbai riots there was a lot of communal violence in the city and Dharavi was also badly hit by the riots. The communal tension increased to a level where people living beside each other as neighbors from years started hating each other. There was jus hatred and violence around. But two selfless people rose for the cause, they could not see their people in grief and unrest. They taught people that clashes and conflicts will happen but there are peaceful ways to resolve them. Through communication and dialogue they tried to change the mindsets of people and eradicate their prejudices. They have done a lot of developmental work with the help of the bureaucracy to improve the standard of living of the people. Today there is peace and harmony , the Hindu- Muslim festivals are celebrated together. Mr. Bhau Korde said, “people are not bad , they are just provoked and the solution to it is COMMUNICATION”.

As we went through the evaluation sheets filled by the participants we were proud of ourselves that our hard work was not in vain ,in short it served the purpose. Today’s youth is very insensitive about issues related to peace and harmony and that is because we, as students have very selfish aims , the youth is very career oriented , we want all the success in life , so where is the time to think about peace ? all we can think about is live life king size .Our only aim behind conducting this workshop was to aware the youth about the selfless ,courageous peace makers worldwide and show them that individuals can also make peace because there is a peace builder within each one of us and what we need ,is just discovering it which can be easily discovered with the right support and motivation and that is what we aimed at. By the end of it we saw a difference on their faces probably a more peaceful side of them and a willingness to work for peace taking these peace builders as their role models , oops did I say the end , naa its just the beginning. Its a big achievement for us ,even if we were able to motivate them a little because motivation is the key to bringing a CHANGE .

On the 15th we had the peace counts exhibition which was inaugurated by eminent personalities like Mr.Farroukh Sheikh and Mrs.Dolly Thakore . It was very special having an eminent but unnoticed peace builder Mr. Bhau Korde from Dharavi until then we had just heard about him and not met him, his personality reflected calmness, tolerance and love ,a perfect example of a peace builder. We all are really motivated with what Mr.Farroukh said,” we do not have any option other than peace , we can either live in peace or die in violence” and we all choose the former.

We have learned a lot in the course of this peace counts project , one of it being that ‘you need not be famous for making peace because peace is within’ and now we have opened a platform for those 20 participants and we would continue to promote, spread and make peace.

 

Workshop on Identity at Burhani college, Mumbai

We hosted a workshop with 70 youth from the Bachelors of Mass Media at the Burhani college where issues of identity, prejudice and how the youth cope with such situations were discussed. A college bubbling with energy and enthusiasm, the students have expressed interest and desire to create small youth groups active on building peace in their community. CfP continues to work with this college and is spreading this activity to other institutions in Mumbai.

 
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