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Organization: INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
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PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the first half of the Decade?

A 'smile' is the beginning of Peace. Peace is an internal feeling of contentment and control of undeserving desires. This comes through good rearing and value-based education in an individual. Individuals make up a society and societies make up civilization.
Our Tollygunj slum inmates in Calcutta were the experts in making explosives for supplying during the fights between political groups and were also used as mercenaries by hoodlums. The area was abandoned by many and infamous for criminal activities. Violence was part of everyday life. After the launching of our Project Sushiksha - which was a value-based functional literacy program for the girl children, mothers and elderly women, the women of the slum families turned their families into the mindset to improve the quality of life.
After our 3 year tenure in the slum, the number of school-going children increased, making of explosives totally stopped, regular clashes between groups almost came to nil, men no longer earn through being mercenaries of hoodlums or gambling. They have resorted to daily wage earning or other casual workers. Women are part of the decision-making process in their families as well as in the slum society. A local club has been formed with the slum inmates to impart ethical and moral sessions through cultural activities for the families in the slum. Now we are invited by this local club for welfare and cultural activities where all the slum dwellers participate and the area is no more a fearful area in the neighborhood. Our Institute evaluates this situation of progress and development as an impact of safe and peaceful society.

OBSTACLES: What are the most important obstacles that have prevented progress?

The obstacles were:
1) Political interference
2) Lack of financial support from development agencies to appreciate and participate in the comprehensive/integrated sustainable development drive of ours.
3) The time lost in the internal resistances to our awareness programs on safe lifestyle and values/morality from the beneficiary sector.

ACTIONS: What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the first half of the Decade?

We have facilitated inter-faith dialogues, observed Peace Days by holding painting contests amongst children so that the word Peace is ingrained in their minds as a happy and competitive situation. We have also organized rallies with placards displaying the importance of 'Peace' with the participation of youngsters, students and people from all walks of life.
We lay stress in ethics in work and social life through our seminars and activities. Refer to the EVENTS section in our website: www.iisd-ngo.org

ADVICE: What advice would you like to give to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the second half of the Decade?

We would like to suggest Promotion of Peace through promotion of spirituality in the lives of the people. Ethics and values can bring the ingredients of Peace at the individual level, societal level and global level.

PARTNERSHIPS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

Refer to our website www.iisd-ngo.org and search for MDG 8

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence in the second half of the Decade (2005-2010)?

Cultural activities with the spiritual flavor for all ages and people from all walks of life. This would be supplemented by promoting spiritual practices and understanding. We would endeavor to promote the commonality and unifying spirit amongst us all. We would also endeavor to help bring about a change in the lives of disadvantaged people so that their progress towards betterment can bring forth peace through lesser conflicts amongst the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'.

Postal address of organization

P65 LAKE VIEW ROAD, KOLKATA-700029, WEST BENGAL, INDIA

E-mail address of organization

rajyashreechaudhuri@yahoo.co.in; shomik2@aol.com

Website address of organization

www.iisd-ngo.org

Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

Education for Culture of Peace

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace

Sustainable Development

Highest priority country of action (or international)

International

Second priority country of action (or international)

International
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Organization: INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

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