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A safe haven for war torn girls

13th Mar 2008
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Often it is easy to become so engrossed with the political and strategic factors of a conflict like that in Jammu/Kashmir that we completely overlook the devastating effects that such violent endeavors have on the innocent bystanders stuck within. The most obvious example of this is orphaned children, who must suffer from images of death, loss and absolute tragedy.

For young Kashmiri girls like Ruqiya, Shazia and Jamila, who recently visited Pune as part of an exploration trip, their childhood memories are not of playing in a school compound, building toy homes, dressing up dolls or soaking in the picturesque beauty of Kashmir.
Instead, their minds are filled with a series of nightmares – of explosions ripping apart human bodies, of constant exchange of gunfire between Indian soldiers and terrorists, of attending the funerals of near and loved ones. For them, the word ‘parental love’ has become a distant concept, one that can only be imagined, never felt.

One grassroots organization in is trying to change that by providing shelters for these victims of such violence. The Borderless World Foundation provides education and shelter to war stricken girls from the J/K region.

The BWF family is a group of youngsters with a humanitarian outlook towards life who aim to work towards alleviating the poor and the needy, the abandoned and the deprived, the suffering and the victimised people of the border areas of India and beyond towards their physical, psychological, educational, economical, social and political well being by implementing rehabilitation and developmental projects.

A short video and more about the organization is after the jump.


[googlevideo=http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6231425414947957314]

Started by Adik Kadam and his cousin Bharati Mamani BWF hoped to provide a human touch to an area of the country that has little left to give.

Disturbed by the thought of what would happen to the orphaned girls, Kadam and Mamani started Basera-e-Tabassum (BeT), the first of its kind project in village Sulkoote in the frontier district of Kupwara on May 12, 2002.

BeT continues on today and currently helps 45 girls rebuild their lives and regain the ability to feel safe and happy.

School, play, and meals follow a regular routine, but the children also have a rollicking time with bhaiyya and didi (Adik and Bharati as elder brother and sister) who tell them stories, some of which entertain, teach a moral or increase their knowledge. Feeling protected and cared for, the girls now have begun to express their ambitions.

Looking down the road, the organization hopes to expand to older girls and more areas.

BWF would now like to take this program further. While they plan to open more homes in different districts of Kashmir, they would also like to bring a bunch of girls to Pune every year for three months when the harsh winter closes down schools. Here they will learn many more things, and gradually the older girls who pass out of schools could attend specialised higher education.

Source: OneWorld South Asia

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