The campaign aims to promote young women and men writers to to learn the art of writing to chronicle personal testimonies of healing and transformation. The campaign led by Ashima Kaul, Women Peacemaker and Founder of Yakjah is being supported by International Civil Society Action Network, a network of 60 women peacemakers across the globe. The campaign which was kick started two years ago highlights the work of women peacemakers, their support, protection and funding to end discrimination and promote women’s rights, equity, justice, peace and security. The campaign in Jammu and Kashmir in this context aims to bring forth the stories of personal healing and transformation of young people. As such a journey began for 10 young people from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh to explore and find out what it means to them as individuals and a collective about their personal experiences around themes of healing and justice, spirituality and religion.
Experts and practitioners Ruchi Ritamvara, a certified alternate therapy practitioner, healer from Uttarakhand, Ozlem Ezer, author, academic, translator from Turkey, Josie Gardner,PhD scholar, innovator, idealist, optimist, and unorthodox thinker from Sydney, Raashi Bhatia, Integral Coach & a certified Dreamwork Professional from US and Dr. Abrarali Saiyed, Assistant Professor Entrepreneurship and Management at Özyeğin University in Turkey, Advisor in LedBy Foundation, Affiliated Researcher and Founder of Association of Muslim Enterpreneurs were the resource persons. Keeping in mind the purpose of the initiative to ignite the participant’s heart and mind for self expression, the resource persons through online and in person sessions imparted skills, knowledge and insight to them for understanding the nuances of the themes and expressions for writing. Dr. Abrarali and Dr. Muzaffar Khan, Director Drug De-addiction Centre PCR Kashmir extensively interacted with the women artisans and participants. They shared inspiring stories of entrepreneurships and developing business plans. Mahatma Gandhi Fellows deployed as Skill Development Officers Hafeez Hackla at Ganderbal, Syed JaasirahSrinagar and Kathua also interacted with women groups and participants who are part of the Hub project.
The campaign is aimed to revitalise women’s agency and for her to resurrect her politics from the margins. The intent is to give visibility to women’s experiences and perspective thereby enabling her to claim her space, rights and voice. In this context a storytelling session by women artisans of Jammu and Kashmir was also organised. The project with women artisans is being supported by London School of Economics under the Gender,Justice and Security Hub. The women artisans from Kashmir doing aari, crewel and sozni embroidery shared their experiences in person of how they struggle with oppressive structures of exploitation. They also shared their aspirations to set up their own enterprises and highlighted their perspectives about the policy gaps. Stories of women from Jagti camp and Jammu doing aari, crewel and Basholi art were screened through short videos.
The objective of the writing residency was accomplished when the participating young people and women artisans shared their personal stories of resilience, courage and sacrifice During the event, the sessions included healing and meditation to invoke ‘stream of consciousness’ for capturing moments of one’s life and weaving them in a story form.