A Step towards Peace Initiative (India)

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A Step towards Peace Initiative (India)

(Original article: Nazia Nabi, Indo-Global Social Service Society)

Ms.Nazia Nabi, Officer Programmes, Kashmir – IGSSS

Aneesa Hamid, a 23 year old, young and energetic girl hails from the village Kawpora of District Bandipora. Her family comprises seven members including her parents, three younger sisters and one brother. Her father is a daily wager and mother weaves carpets to meet their daily needs.

Prior to being part of the IGSSS supported youth group, Aneesa used to contribute to the income of her family by weaving Pashmina shawls.

“Pashmina weaving helped to meet my educational needs and I am still pursuing my Master’s degree in English” shared Aneesa. Speaking on how she joined the youth group she reminisces, “I used to notice the activities of women and the youth group formed by IGSSS in my village and in the adjacent villages; initially, I felt it was a futile activity and was not really interested in joining them. But one day, I happened to attend a peace education workshop organized by IGSSS under its P-LEAPS project which was held at Singpora. I listened to the resource person at the event keenly, acquainting us with concepts of peace building and how we can engage with different stakeholder to reduce conflicts in our respective areas. He also spoke on the need of building peace in conflict ridden Kashmir” added Aneesa.

“It is there, I realized that I am missing something; the knowledge by which I can contribute towards the peace building initiatives”.

Aneesa was also provided media training under the programme. Again she shares, “Initially, I was reluctant to join the residential training, as I had never stayed away from my family even for a single day. The conflict has inflicted so much of fear in the hearts of people that they hardly allow females to move out of their homes unless they are not assisted by some male member. However, I was somehow motivated and encouraged by the IGSSS team to attend the training. The training was the turning point in my life; I got to learn the skills of handling a camera, taking pictures, building stories on issues prevalent in Kashmir. It is only after the training that I was selected by Video Volunteers and I got an opportunity to work as a community media volunteer”.

She further says that after attending trainings on leadership, conflict management, human rights, “I got to know “WHO I AM”. These trainings and workshops enhanced my knowledge and understanding of my rights, my duties and how I can bring peace within myself and within the community I live in”.

Aneesa at this age is motivated enough to work for her community and highlight the human rights violation cases and other issues prevalent in her village and in the Valley. She further adds that. “Our village is male dominated, most men in the village think that women have no role in development or cannot contribute to peace building in the village.  But my confidence level has increased to the level where I want to prove them wrong by highlighting the gender issues through social media and their role in society. My parents are my biggest strength.”

Aneesa shared the list of issues that she has highlighted through media:

  • Lack of health care facilities in Shahtulpora village of Bandipora
  • Discrimination concerning relief distribution among the flood victims of Kawpora village of Bandipora
  • Disappearance of Mohammad Afzal of Inderkote village and Ghulam Nabi from Sumbal Bandipora
  • Overloading of electricity in Kawpora village of Bandipora
  • Unsafe drinking water in Takanwari village of Ganderbal

She says that she has a long way to go and “I am very thankful to IGSSS for building confidence in me and providing me a platform where I can express myself without hesitation”. She concludes, “Peace building is not only responsibility of men but women too.  All that is required is to enable women to be part of this process”.

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