Initiatives of Change | Australian Newsbriefs Article | Together at the Indo-Pak border

February 2015

Melbourne educator Margaret Hepworth has returned from a 34 day program set up by an IofC India team of teachers to facilitate 25 workshops in four cities with 1,200 teachers and over 1000 student from 65 schools:

The IofC India team of educators, working through Education Today, Society Tomorrow, believes that change will come through education. When taking this message across India last October-November through peacebuilding workshops in schools, something extraordinary happened: I found myself connected with a team of Indian educators and others working towards building peace bridges between India and Pakistan. My own vision began to form: of Pakistani and Indian children coming together at the Wagah border to which I was taken while running workshops in Amritsar.

Unexpectedly, I met Chintan Girish Modi, in Mumbai. Chintan is a joy-filled, tenacious character, whose community initiative, Friendships Across Borders, is a testimony to his life-long dream of bridging the divide between India and Pakistan. Through it, Chintan and his team create email-pals between the separated peoples of these tense and wounded nations. When the massacre of school children took place in Peshawar, their immediate call for letters of love and support to the people of Pakistan from India generated a flood.

What grew from my visions has taken flight with an initiative called ‘When the Sword becomes Words’. We are creating a music video that incorporates school children from Pakistan, India, Australia, Fiji and China united in singing the inspiring song One Day.

Yesterday I received my first email from a Pakistani teacher confirming that the dream has begun. Our intention is that Indian and Pakistani children will “come from their hearts”, to use Chintan’s words, so that when they finally meet, hatred and ignorance will unravel.