We visit with people committed to peace, and their communities, to share our concerns for peace and to mutually discern practical ways to increase peace and nonviolence. We believe in building healthy, long-term relationship with people from different countries, communities, backgrounds and capabilities so that we know each other better and can resolve our conflicts as they arise. We facilitate peace workshops and camps to share tools and practices for a culture of peace in local peace leaders and communities through experiential learning process. We offer basic and advanced Alternatives to Violence Project workshops to teens and adults in various topics like empowerment, trauma resiliency, developmental play, liberation from oppression, discernment, and the Power of Goodness, especially for kids, their teachers and parents.
We offer attention to citizen leaders committed to peace in their homes, communities and societies and support them to respond to their calls as they arise in their communities, such as workshops, travel and translations. Though it is not our main priority, we have responded with financial resources after the devastating situations of natural disasters like the earthquake in 2015 and massive flooding in 2017. These natural disasters severely affected the people and communities we had built relationship with and knew their real life situation.
As it is said, the nature and characteristics of a nation’s’ leadership and the political parties is the reflection of its people and the society. If it is so, the Nepalese people and the society seriously need to unlearn violence, discrimination, privilege and prejudice; and learn fundamental ingredients in creating culture of peace. For this, each individual is required to know the language and practice of peace and nonviolence in private and public life.
The ten-year Nepal armed conflict ended in 2006 leaving in its wake poverty, corruption and political turmoil. Despite very few political changes like from Hindu Kingdom to Secular Federal Republic, the justifications for armed conflict, such as multi-layered discrimination, violence, privileges, prejudices, criminalization and degradation of politics remain the same, even deeper and wider in some cases. Although, the war gave raise and voice to marginalized groups calling for equality, it also, sadly, established violence as a new normal in Nepalese society.
Despite rich culture and natural beauty, underlying violence based on caste, class and gender continues. Violence in schools is also a particular concern, both between teachers and students and among students. The ancient caste system and patriarchy reinforces societal violence and oppression. This deeply-rooted caste, class and gender based violence, make privilege and prejudice so rampant and powerful that sometimes it feels like we are still living in medieval and feudal era! The society is so nice for few, and too traumatic for many, it not most. The effects of trauma permeate Nepali society.
The country is further devastated by the 2015 earthquake and 2017 floods. Human trafficking thrives within and beyond the country drawing victims from throughout the country. Beatings, although now illegal, have been part of the school system and continue. Teachers have not been adequately trained, culturally as well as skillswise, in how to maintain discipline without resorting to violence. Landless and land poor people struggle against discrimination and generations of oppression in the caste system. Creating cultures of peace and nonviolence requires pervasive personal, communal, professional and societal change.
Recovering peace from this violent reality requires a long-term effort. Peace has not been and is not just a paper signed by the two warring sides, or projects designed to last for a few years. Peace is understanding, valuing and respecting others so that everyone can have equal dignify and fulfilling lives.
In 2015, we joined hands with the largest nonviolent social movement in Nepal and their core leadership supporting landless and land poor people. This bond aims at developing understanding and advancing knowledge for creating culture of peace so that the movement is better equipped to advocate for their rights and actualize peace in our private as well as public lives. We encourage and collaborate with:
- Community Self Reliance Center (CSRC), an NGO in Nepal for land and agrarian rights campaign since since 1993.
- National Land Rights Forum (NLRF), a national association of land rights deprived poor farmers.
With the collaboration AVP-Nepal, CHILDREN-Nepal and Bikalpa Training Center are organizing Alternative to Violence Training Workshop in schools and communities in Pokhara area. There are about 30 person including teachers and social workers are attended training for facilitators. Facilitator Ram Chandra has developed a AVP Youth manual in Nepali based on the context of Nepal. He has also added new activities to utilize by AVP facilitators and he has shared at AVP Asia West Pacific Region Gathering in Perth, Australia in January 2018. It has helped to develop and practice agreements (code of conducts, rules and regulations) among teachers, parents and youth in school. Many facilitators including John Michaelis has been supporting for this effort. We support:
- Children Nepal, Pokhara, an organization that works to promote the rights, welfare and development of children and youth living on the margins of society.
- Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) in Nepal.
- Faculties from the Department of Conflict and Peace Studies at the Mid-Western University, Surkhet