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Return to Paradise

Posted in 2010 Summer Public Service Program, Farheen by kashmircorps on June 27, 2010

Breathtaking sights while landing into Kashmir

I have been in Kashmir for over 3 weeks now but the unstable conditions here have allowed only 2 of those to be a work week. In a vicious cycle of violence, strikes, and stone pelting, four teenagers have been killed

in a span of only 10 days. A bleak reminder that the situation in Kashmir isn’t getting any better and the reason why projects like KashmirCorps exist.

The Sunday before last I was trying to help my cousin in grade 5 study for his English test. He refused to pay attention since he had already made up his mind that tomorrow would be a hartaal. Guess what? He was right. After a series of strikes he was finally able to take his English test yesterday! Just a small example of how daily life is affected by the ongoing conflict in Kashmir. It really humbles you to see what the children and people of Kashmir have to face day in and day out.

The weather in Kashmir also seems to have a mind of its own. Two days of sun and boiling heat followed by a day of thunderstorms and showers. This instability is however, much welcome.

On a brighter note, I have already met some inspirational people who are truly dedicated to improving the lives of the Kashmiri people. Nighat auntie, the founder and director of HELP foundation, the organization I will be working with this summer is one of them.

Building teamwork among Kashmiri youth through a problem-solving session

Our first field visit was to the orphanage in Inderhama where I joined the boys in a problem solving challenge organized by two women from Delhi. The challenge was to wrap an egg in such a way that it would survive a fall from the roof of a 3 story building! 4 out of 6 teams were successful but more importantly, all the boys were ‘quick on their feet’ and showed excellent team work and intelligence; all qualities much needed in the youth of Kashmir for the promise of a better future.

That’s all for now folks! Stay tuned for more details on my project and stories from the valley of Kashmir.

Although born in Kashmir, Farheen has spent most of her life abroad. She recently graduated with a BSc in Human Biology from the University of Toronto. Farheen has a deep interest in public health which she will explore further working with the HELP foundation on a project focusing on women’s mental health.


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