SEEDS OF UNDERSTANDING – Children’s exchange programme launched | Pakistan Today

SEEDS OF UNDERSTANDING – Children’s exchange programme launched

LAHORE – The Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP), in collaboration with Routes2Roots, an Indian organization working for peace and dialogue between Pakistan and India, introduced “Exchange for Change,” an interactive exchange between 2400 school children from both the countries.
Recently, CAP hosted a press conference at the City School Ravi Campus, which was attended by personnel from the media industry, education sector and politics. Hosted by CAP board member Swaleha Alam, the press conference was addressed by MNA Sherry Rehman, who has been involved in Track-II diplomacy with India, and CAP President Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy.
The main philosophy behind the Exchange for Change is to open avenues for children within Pakistan and India for dialogue and understanding of a shared history and culture. The project, by providing accessibility to youth interaction, will lead to understanding between the youth of the two countries, which will in turn lead to a positive change in restructuring cultural misconceptions and inter-generational conflict.
During the 12-month life of this project, a sustained exchange will take place between 2400 school children, between the ages of 10 and 14, from 10 schools across Pakistan and India. Schools from Pakistan participating in this project are City School, Links, Ilm School, SMB Fatimah Jinnah and Saving Group Schools.
In India the participants are Sanskriti, St Pauls, Balwant Rai Mehta Vidya Bhavan School, Shushuvan and Gandhi Memorial. PROJECT PHASES: The project will be spread over four distinct phases. “Letters to the Past” is the first phase running from, January – March 2011, where students will exchange letter and share history. “Postcard Series”, marks the second phase from April – mid May, where students will exchange postcards with self taken images. From September – mid October 2011, the third phase, “Photography Series”, will be launched where children will exchange self taken photographs of historical monuments.
In “Oral History DVDs,” phase four, from mid October – November, school children will participate in open houses at their schools, where their grandparents will be invited to narrate stories about Pakistani and Indian history. Routes2Roots Co-founder Tina Vachani said, “It is hard for people to forget the past; and sometimes feelings of animosity are passed down generation after generation.
The idea is not to ask the students to befriend the student they are writing to, rather, it is a relationship that will change the biases and will help students realize that the children on the other side of the border are just like them.”

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