Winter Educational and Cultural Exchange Tour
The Borderless World Foundation (bwf) is a non-governmental, not-for-profit, registered organisation based in Pune, Maharashtra. Established in March 2002, bwf was started with an aim to provide a ‘Humane Touch’ to the border areas of India and beyond. Borderless World Foundation is one of the winners of the CSO Partners Outstanding Annual Report Awards 2009, for Accounting and Transparency.
As a part of its main project, we run four homes called Basera-e-Tabassum (Abode of Smiles) for orphan girl-children in Kashmir- Kupwara, Beerwah and Anantnag in Kashmir, and one in Jammu for children belonging to the migrant camps. Altogether we have 178 children, from age 3-19, who have been directly affected with violence and militancy, most of them have lost their father either to the army’s or militants’ bullets. Violence is all its subtle and more visible form has become an integral part of Kashmiri society of which these girls are a part. Most of our children are studying in private schools, few remaining in government schools. However, the quality of education and training in life-skills in Kashmir is far from adequate.
At BWF, apart from providing them with basic amenities such as food, clothing, shelter, we are continuously challenging ourselves to employ methodologies and ways that will help improve their overall character and well-being. The girls are full of dreams and aspirations, and here we undertake various extra-curricular initiatives that contribute to their overall character and thought development, through the medium of performing arts, film, photography etc. One such initiative is the multi-city, winter educational and cultural exchange tour that we have been organising since December 2008.
Every year we intend to make the winter tour more holistic, with a clear thrust on academic and health improvement, skills and capacity building, and exposure to various cultures and art forms. Through such an initiative we are promoting the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values needed to bring about behavior changes that will enable these children, who will soon shoulder various responsibilities in their community, to prevent conflict and violence, both overt and structural; to resolve conflict peacefully; and to build a culture of peace in the Valley, which has experienced violence of unprecedented scale since the last three decades.
A group of 50 girls from all our homes in Kupwara, Budgam and Anantnag will be training at 4 different cities every year. Apart from subject tuitions in science and mathematics, some of the activities include spoken English, computer education, sports/ exercises/self-defense, dance, theatre, puppetry, arts/craft, creative writing and gardening. These activities have been designed to not only strengthen their academic base but also give them confidence, skills and mentorship needed for their overall development.