Education for Peace: Call for Volunteers

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Concerned about growing levels of violence in society?

Spend a lot of time thinking about schooling and education?

Passionate about international relations but not sure what you can do?

Get in touch with us!
We may be looking for you at Prajnya’s Education for Peace Initiative!

Prajnya needs a few rock-solid-reliable, enthusiastic and committed volunteers
to take its Education for Peace work forward.
We need people to work on our school-based programmes.

Our Peace Education volunteers need to:

  • Know something about working with children between 11 and 15 years of age,
    and enjoy it too!

  • Have the following personality traits:
    Have excellent communication skills and be willing to interact openly with groups.
    Be non-judgmental, so they can moderate discussions and debates with multiple viewpoints.

  • Be based in Chennai.

  • Be fluent in English and Tamil. Hindi is a bonus!

  • Be able to travel around the city on their own.

  • Be available to work during school hours.

  • Have access to the Internet at home and be proficient in standard computer use.

Please note this is NOT a paid position. We are looking for volunteers in the old-fashioned sense.

Think you fit the bill but not sure you understand the work?
That’s okay! We plan to hold a training very soon.
Not sure you fit the bill, but you’d really like to do this work?
Email us anyway without hesitation!

We’re hoping to find and train a few new volunteers very soon,
so we’re setting an early deadline: July 15.
But we do need people on an ongoing basis, so if you see this after that, write in anyway!

We’d encourage you to look at our website (http://www.prajnya.in) and blog (https://prajnyaforpeace.wordpress.com) before you email us.

Send your cv with a brief covering note that shares
why you are interested in this work to this address:
peace.prajnya@gmail.com

Just breathe

Peace is really an interior journey, and many, many peace workers have always known this. Here comes a video featuring children that illustrates very simply and powerfully how you can transform a moment of intense emotion and move on.

Adults rarely do this, do they? They indulge the emotion, let it fester, let it bleed. They watch it grow, and then they aggravate it further. What happens next–aggression and violence–seems natural, but is it really that?

Watch this video, and share it!

Here is a short article that tells us more about the making of this video: Alicia Lutes, SHORT FILM ‘JUST BREATHE’ HELPS KIDS DEAL WITH EMOTIONS, Amy Poehler Smart Girls, May 25, 2015, accessed June 2, 2015.

What’s going on in the world?

The Peace Club is structured around a handful of interactions between the students and the Prajnya resource person. The activity that carries on through the academic year is the ‘What’s going on in the world’ bulletin board. Peace Club members are responsible for updating this ‘news board’ everyday, and ideally take individual and collective responsibility for it. For each day, they must post ‘good news’ about peace, ‘bad news’ about peace and then they have the liberty to post one thing of their choice–a thought for the day, a drawing or cartoon or photo, a poem.

The following photos illustrate this activity, and also give us an idea of how 11-year olds interpret this assignment.

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A teacher reflects on peace

by Unnamalai Manickam

What does ‘PEACE’ mean to me?

I just wondered what ‘peace’ meant actually to me. First, I asked a few questions to myself to disregard the general assumptions that are believed. When all my materialistic desires are satisfied, when I have no personal issues with anyone, when my ears are shut to others’ problems . . . Would I be able to say that I am leading a peaceful life?

As a mother, peace is in the harmony of the family. As a teacher, I wish all the children apply the concepts they learn. As an Indian, I wish there is no rivalry with any of the countries of the world, and within the country, people should live united with all the imbalances and diversities still existing.

As a human being peace is fighting against injustice, making judicious use of time and other resources, appreciating and protecting nature and its wealth, knowing my limitations and accepting  individuals for what they are, unconditional love, finally when TV channels, newspapers and other media have nothing to say about destruction.

Maybe then I would say the world sounds peaceful.

A little art, a little celebration

Prajnya Peace Club members held an exhibition of their art and writing on peace  on November 3, 2014. Dr. D. Jayashree, Prajnya Trustee, and Swarna Rajagopalan visited the exhibition and listened to the students introduce their work at length. The enthusiasm of the students–and the teachers who encouraged them–was remarkable and infectious.

The children had a choice between writing and drawing their ideas about peace, and they mostly chose to ignore the binary option we gave them and embrace a combination of image and text. In the post that follows, we will share (with their permission) the work that was shown at the exhibition.

Here are some photos taken of the visit itself.

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A creative initiative by schoolchildren

We recently initiated a series of peace education activities at a Chennai school. The first was a talk to all the students of Std. VII on what peace is–the full spectrum of its meanings. A month later, visiting today, a surprise was waiting.

On their own initiative, children who were to be part of the school’s new Peace Club drew four posters answering the question, “What is peace?” We share them here, with permission:

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With so much enthusiasm, it’s safe to say:

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The POA for this initiative is a few interactive sessions with Prajnya team members and a slate of student-led activities. We will share more when we are able. 

Kriti, September 21, 2012: Photo Album & Report

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Director’s note: On International Day of Peace , we at Prajnya, celebrated with a small  group of people by engaging in conversations about the what, why’s and how’s of Peace  education. Kriti was our attempt to begin the conversation of Peace with some educators in the city and to  encourage them to  implement some of the NCF guidelines for peace education that lie dormant within the 2005 guideline document. While  changes were made to the original version of Kriti  due to less participation from schools on account of exams, the interactions , discussions and debates that were part of it were as, if not more, valuable as we could have deeper conversation ,sustained for longer periods, on Peace topics  that were close to our hearts. So overall Kriti was a  success and as each made a commitment to  taking small steps towards implementation of Peace Education in our own spaces slowly building and bringing it forward to larger community, we felt that we had truly begun a new journey .

Writing for Peace: ‘Peace’ by Poorva Inamdar

The second Writing for Peace feature, ‘Peace’ by Poorva Inamdar, was originally posted at Words and More (Kids) on December 21, 2011.

‘Peace is the only battle worth waging.

This saying by Albert Camus is true indeed! Peace cannot be fought for; it can be created, developed and secured in the hearts of the world’s millions! It is, of course, an antethesis of war, a term which mainly describes destruction, hatred and cruelty towards all.

The word peace has many synonyms like friendship, love, armistice, union, unity, pacifism … but none of these is able to capture the integrity and emotion of the word ‘peace’ – the bond, the feeling which  seeps deep inside one’s heart and makes it a holy place.

Peace makes its way to develop a sense of tolerance in international relations, strengthening the truce of belief and understanding between them. The word ‘peace’ gained importance in the early 20th century when great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King made it the cornerstone  of their strategy to obtain freedom from slavery and imperialism. Mahatma Gandhi won freedom from British Rule for India on the principles of non-violence and Satyagraha. Martin Luther King fought for justice and equality for Afro-Americans and is one of the greatest heroic leaders in the history of modern American liberalism.

Today the concept of  ’World Peace’ has gained recognition worldwide as part of the efforts by the human race to secure safety and understanding between warring nations.

The initiative for World Peace is  now in the hands of the United Nations which is striving constantly, through both conventional and unconventional methods, to establish peace in this world threatened by terrorism, in order to make this world a better place. The dove with an olive branch in its beak, the symbol of peace that was popularized by world famous artist Pablo Picasso in 1949 has been widely used in the post-World War II peace movement.

However, to really bring about world peace, each of us needs to take this mission to heart and come together to make this world a better and safer place!

Prajnya contributes to special ‘Agenda’ issue on peace-building

Prajnya team members have contributed three essays to a special issue of ‘Agenda‘ on peace-building. (October 2011)