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Monday, March 19, 2012

Talking the talk and walking the walk

The communication gap between people who subscribe to different faiths, come from different cultures, and belong to different social classes can be a major hurdle for young people who want to interact with each other, explore other cultures, and learn about different religions. Young people living in rural areas are especially aware of the fact that they don’t have a platform to communicate and consequently remove misconceptions and move closer.

Youth for Peace is a group of Active Citizens from Bahawalpur who started a Social Action Project (SAP) to promote interfaith harmony. According to the group members, they felt that they had to play their part in enabling young people of their area to overcome social barriers and reach out to one another. In their own words: “we are trying our level best to provide a platform for people who really don’t know about different religions and cultures. Due to our efforts and hard work we have found some success in promoting interfaith harmony among different religions and cultures”.

To promote their cause the group organized a “peace walk” for the students of their city. The group visited different schools and presented their views on interfaith harmony. They were successful in convincing officials and students from different schools to take part in the peace walk.

A dialogue between different groups within the community was also organized by Youth for Peace. The purpose of the dialogue was to bring together community members from different religions under one roof, where they could talk with one another candidly and openly.
Through the dialogue the group also managed to remove certain misconceptions about their SAP. According to a group member, one point stressed time and again by Youth for Peace was: “Interfaith harmony does not mean the adoption of customs and traditions of other religions but it really means that we should not view other religions with prejudice and should respect them whole heartedly”.

Thanks to the efforts of these Active Citizens members of different social groups got a chance to sit down together and talk in a way they had not before. Hopefully they learned something new about one another along the way and some left with the realization that no matter how different people are, they still have a lot in common.

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