Striving for peace in Kashmir
Since graduating from Mahindra College in 2007, Ufra Mir has dedicated her time to promoting peace both globally and in her home-town of Kashmir. Influenced by the curriculum at Mahindra, Ufra went on to study Psychology and Mental Health at Luther College in the US. She founded non-profit organisation “Paigaam: A Message For Peace” as a student conflict resolution group, and since its original conception in 2011 it has gone on to grow into a registered not-for-profit organisation. Paigaam’s aim is to educate and train children, young people and adults in the values, principles, and the best practices of intercultural peace-building.
Paigaam currently works in the USA and in India. Amongst many different initiatives, they offer awareness raising and training workshops in the USA and India, have a health-youth empowerment initiative in Indian-Kashmir, and a cross–cultural Arts for Peace Initiative for orphans and children with violent paths in Indian-Kashmir, Pakistan, Angola and the USA. They have also established the Gift Initiative, for the emancipation and empowerment of women which they hope to use to sponsor education and provide sanitary products for orphaned girls in Uganda. This initiative is particularly close to Ufra’s heart, as it is dedicated to Sylvia Gift Nabukeera, a fellow Mahindra and Luther aluma and friend who was murdered in Kenya in 2011.
Ufra said “MUWCI gave a new dimension to my experiences of being a Kashmiri adolescent girl who constantly had to deal with the brutal consequences of living in a violent society. It helped me to change my fears into opportunities and struggles into passion to strive for a better peaceful future, not just for myself but for others too.”
Currently, Ufra is back in Kashmir to establish a local chapter of Paigaam. She is running workshops and building a ‘community peace recreational centre’ to promote peace education in schools and youth programmes. Through these courses Ufra aims to “help [students] become agents of positive change, transforming their societies, moving together on the journey of peace towards a global healthier future”. Paigaam is the first and only initiative in Kashmir that offers peace-education and Ufra has already successfully incorporated peace-education at one of the schools, as a part of their curriculum.
For more information on Paigaam and details on how you can get involved, please visit the website