Playing games, singing songs and discovering mutual crushes: 8th Indo-Pak Classroom Connect
In Aaghaz-e-Dosti’s 8th Indo-Pak Classroom Connect, two organisations – Project KHEL (Lucknow, India) and Zindagi Trust (Karachi) striving for quality education for underprivileged students connected to facilitate children or leaders of tomorrow in an environment which is beyond the borders of mistrust, miscommunication and hatred.
These sessions called Indo-Pak Classroom Connects are one of the unique peace education initiative of Aaghaz-e-Dosti to utilize ICT, the virtual world where there are no visa restriction to overcome the barriers of lack of communication and understanding. We, at Aaghaz-e-Dosti, believe that it is the lack of communication as well as a lot of miscommunication that sustains the Indo-Pak conflict. In these sessions, we connect students of Indian and Pakistani schools, educational institutions through video conferencing and facilitate an interaction, an environment wherein they can understand life, culture and people across the border and dispel stereotypes.
For 8th Indo-Pak Classroom connect, Aaghaz-e-Dosti joined hands with two education organisations – Project KHEL and Zindagi Trust. Project KHEL (KHEL is an acronym for Kids Holistic Education and Life-Skills) is a lucknow based non-profit, that uses play and outdoor activities to take education outside the classroom for children from low income backgrounds in and around Lucknow city. Zindagi Trust is a non profit organization working on reforms in two Government schools in Pakistan- SMB Fatima Jinnah and Khatoone Pakistan School. It has brought infra structural and academic changes and through co curricular activities has made these schools as model for public as well as private schools. The founding president of this school is Shehzad Roy, a nationally known singer.
The interaction was conducted on 27 February 2017. Project Khel had conducted the session in Modern Madrasa in Bhikampur while the Karachi session by Zindagi Trust was conducted in one of its adopted government schools – SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls Secondary School.
Angana Prasad, one of the co-ordinators of the session from Project KHEL, stated that while this session was planned and organized on a very short notice but when they shared that a session with Pakistani students has been scheduled, it was not just students who were enthusiastic to interact.
The session was conducted in Hindi/Urdu. The students talked about culture, food, festivals and popular culture. They rejoiced at the similarities as well as used this platform to build an understanding about any difference.
Angana Prasad shared that during a discussion on festivals, a student explained to her peers in Pakistan about Maha Shivratri and while doing so, drew analogy between vrat and roza.
The students played a concentration game. They sang songs together. The Pakistan side sang their national song “Dil Dil Pakistan, Jan Jan Pakistan”.
Angana Prasad said, “The students spoke about culture, food, played games, sang songs and more importantly, understood how across the borders, we’re still the same people crushing on Hrithik Roshan and Shahid Afridi.”
On both sides, reports Angana Prasad and Shahnaz Hunzai, the students thoroughly enjoyed interacting with each other, discovering a country beyond the borders which is just like their own.
Report written by
Devika Mittal based on inputs by Angana Prasad (Project Khel) and Shahnaz Hunzai (Zindagi Trust)