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Organization: Samerth Trust
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.
Posted: May 04 2010,06:29 If you wrote this report, you will find a button here that you may click
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Postal address of organization/institution

Q-402, Shrinandnagar part-2, Vejalpur, Ahmedabad, Gujarat,
Ahmedabad- 380051, India

E-mail address of organization/institution

samerthtrust1992@gmail.com, gazala.apaul@gmail.com

Website address of organization/institution


Telephone of organization/institution

+91-79-26829004, +91-9099019370

PRIORITIES: All of the organization's domains of culture of peace activity


TOP PRIORITY: The organization's most important culture of peace activity


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

International Centre for Peace and Justice, Brandeis University, Massachusetts
Women in Peace, Security and Conflict Management, Delhi
Pakistan India People Forum for Peace and Democracy, New Delhi
Asian Bureau for Adult Education, Mumbai
Conflict Transformation Acrostics Cultures (CONTACT) School for International Training, Brattleboro, Vermont, USA

ACTIONS: What activities have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the ten years of the Decade? If you already made a report in 2005, your information from 2005 will be included in the 2010 report.

1. Peace Modules: Peace modules were developed for more interactive, filled modules rather than classroom style modules. More games, quizzes were included in the new module. We also bifurcated the exercises according to classes and thus developed individual modules for children of different age groups.
2. Peace clubs: Peace clubs are being conducted in schools. Peace clubs were formed in schools, library centers as well as in community areas. Young boys and girls were members of this club. The kids themselves took initiative and planned activities like story telling, film shows, plays, workshops, and theme based projects on Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Ambedkar etc. They would also celebrate different festivals in the club including the peace tree day. Peace club members in community organize different activities in their neighboring areas. In schools there is a dedicated notice board and teacher for the peace club. Different activities are planned during the week and then their photographs or sometimes charts are put up on the notice board. In some schools the Principal looks after the peace club and plans different activities.
3. Peace count exhibition: A Peace count exhibition organized by UNESCO in Delhi from 11th August 09 to 14th August 09. This was an exhibition of success stories of 12 different countries which had under gone conflict situation but in the process of reconciliation have been able to shift from a fractured and divided past to a future based on justice, dignity and coexistence. Samerth’s coordinator Afroz Baig along with other teachers from Peace education team had attended this exhibition. And it proved to be a great exposure for them to see and understand what other societies world over have done in situation of conflict.
4. Gujarat Unknown released:  Gujarati translation of the book Gujarat Unknown” aptly named “Ajanyu Gujarat” was released by well known social activist Mr. Indukumar Jani in one day State level consultation organized by Samerth. This consultation was held on the issues of education, prejudices in text books, religious intolerance, quality of education, right to education and challenges faced.  

The book “Gujarat Unknown” written by -Prof. J.J. Roy Burman, a renowned anthropologist, is on different communities who have coexisted for centuries together and have been living in harmony with each other. It has real examples of how communities have lived and existed with each other has have respected each other’s culture, religious practices and traditions.

PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the second half of the Decade?

1. After participating in the peace education program, many teachers expressed regret at their prejudiced behavior in the classroom, and have begun to think more critically about the events of 2002. Some teachers now recognize the importance of peace education and support its inclusion in the teacher- learning process and in the curriculum. They are willing to take on additional responsibilities to change the communal mindset of the children and other teachers.

2.   Our peace education endeavors have also translated into a method    for reconciliation among Hindu & Muslim adults in Gujarat. Parent Teacher Meetings have become a forum where mothers from different communities have come together to discuss the quality of classroom teaching and the academic progress of their children. These meetings brought members of polarized communities together and gave them opportunities to discuss mutually relevant issues such as domestic violence, alcoholism, diversity, unity justice and respecting differences. The PTA has now extended to form new meaningful groups like SHG, Women’s’ Group to facilitate interaction of issues at domestic and local level. These groups have been successful in solving problems of water clogging, bad street lights etc. through advocacy efforts.

3. The projection of movies (children’s films on peace, anecdotal or historical, science, etc.) on different themes received tremendous response, especially from children. Moreover, the discussions, responses and question-answers following projection of movie were really encouraging and we can say that the contents of the films have definitely left some or the other good message in their minds. To cite
     an example, following the brain-storming after showing the film “Dharm” some children expressed that they should overcome their biases towards children from other religion since everyone is equal and all “GODs” are one.

OBSTACLES: Has your organization faced any obstacles to implementing the culture of peace and nonviolence? If so, what were they?

Segregation in the city:
The long history of communal violence in Gujarat, which spreads well over a century, has created a deep sense of insecurity amongst the members of the minority community, i.e., the Muslims, over the years. According to yet another, in spite of these riots there had evolved a culture (call it composite or complex or whatever), which brought these two communities together. And while riots did indicate the potential of the inter-communal differences, which undercut such multifaceted unity, to erupt into violence, a consensual emphasis on harmony ensured retrieval of the strands that reunited the communities and brought back order and peace in the city. But the riots of 2002 was a departure in the sense that it questioned the very logic and utility of any such pre-existing harmony and the absolute demographic reconfiguration that followed the riots suggested that while any such exclusive segmentation may ensure relative communal peace, the concepts of ‘inter-communal harmony’ and ‘compositeness’ were in clear discount.

Use of Hate Speech and Hate Writing:  Widespread hate propaganda was conducted through pamphlets distributed by Hindu right wing communal organisations in different areas in large numbers. The contents of these included calls for the social and economic boycott of Muslims, warnings about Muslims constituting a danger to the survival of Hindus, urging Hindus to awaken and to decimate and drive Muslims out from India.

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization in the short, medium and long term to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence?

The peace education initiative has brought about remarkable positive change among the students and the teachers, principals and management of the schools. The active participation by them in classes and their willingness to provide a space, and wider space, and generating interest in the subject considering the diversity of communities and religions would indeed be an indicator of achievement towards our objective of the programme.
2. Through the peace education actually children's attitudinal change) would be worth examining.
3. Working on textbooks to advocate for change that promotes religious and ideological divisiveness and engaged with the human resource department of the country for creating a mechanism for regulations

GLOBAL MOVEMENT: How do you think the culture of peace and nonviolence could be strengthened and supported at the world level??

- Collaborate with national and international networks like PIPFD for wider impact
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Organization: Samerth Trust

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