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Trying to maintain momentum

Posted in 2008 Summer Public Service Program, Tabir by kashmircorps on June 30, 2010

A houseboat named Miss America, sits on the Dal Lake

I wanted to catch up on the events of the week. As far as tourist-y things I have done, I finally took that Shikara ride and we visited the Mughal Gardens. The view from Parimahal was breathtaking!

I also bought some jewelry and unfortunately got ripped off about 200 rupees. But I guess that is all part of the learning experience. We also visited a heritage museum in a nearby park. It has definitely been an eventful week for the group, but as far my project is concerned, the ongoing strikes have been taking a toll on the progression of my project.

There have only been two school days since my arrival and every other day there has been a strike. I am trying to keep busy and maneuver the course of the project in a way that will allow me to get something done everyday regardless if there is a school day or not. Though my project is off to a slow start, I was able to visit the HELP foundation with the other volunteers, an organization which Farheen is working with this summer.

HELP foundation is an amazing organization which has made great strides in community rehabilitation for communities debilitated by the conflict. Their initiatives range from establishing “special schools” for children who have lost their fathers from conflict related causes to providing sustenance allowance to women. Meeting Mrs. Nighat Shafi, chairperson of HELP, was an important opportunity for me to understand the obstacles present in non profit work in Kashmir and how much still needs to be accomplished. Also, yesterday afternoon, we were able to support Aya at a workshop she was heading at “Sunday Circle”, an intellectual society of young Kashmiri journalists who meet every Sunday to discuss and debate discourse in the field of journalism.

Also, INTACH, the organization Sarah will be working with this summer, focusing on the preservation of historic sites in Kashmir, was kind enough to host the KashmirCorps volunteers for dinner and a presentation on Kashmiri culture. The view from the Nageen club, where the presentation and dinner was held was probably one of the most beautiful sights I have seen thus far in Kashmir.

Despite the informative week, conditions in Kashmir seem to be worsening. It is hard to cope with the devastating headlines day after day, like “Kashmir Boils” and “Two more fall”. The number of children and young men being killed just seems to be increasing. The minute to minute change in conditions has resulted in a curfew for today and most probably tomorrow.

Aya and I are trying to keep busy by blogging and entertaining each other. I have never experienced “hotel/house arrest”. Every day I realize another luxury I take advantage of back home, and today its simply being able to leave my home whenever I please.

Before I post my blog entry on Asma Firdous, I will hopefully be meeting her once again, if all goes well and there are no strikes.

I’m trying to maintain momentum and not let the conditions outside influence my hope for this project.

Take Care!

Tabir received her bachelors degree in Philosophy and Religion from Brooklyn College in 2009 and has since been doing research at the United Nations on topics concerning women’s reproductive and sexual rights. She will be working with the Kashmir Education Initiative to aid in developing evaluation measures for the organization’s scholarship program.

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