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Kashmiri children help bridge gaps

Kashmiri children help in bridging distances by participating in "Yakjah" a festival that aims to raise community awareness and establish the first steps necessary to remove mistrust, reduce tension and violence based on political, ideological, religious and ethnic differences among communities.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2004 15:09 IST

Cutting across barriers of religion, it's now the turn of children to spread the message of communal harmony in Jammu and Kashmir-- through plays which highlight the scourge of terrorism.

"In today's society where so many conflicts exist, it is very difficult for children and the youth-- the most vulnerable age groups-to overcome stress and anxiety caused by past experiences, especially when the traumatising factors still exist", says Ashima Kaul, a member of 'Yakjah', a group of Kashmiris working with children to create 'safe spaces' in order to enable free interaction and expression for them.

"Thus, there is a need for creating a space in which children and the youth of Jammu and Kashmir can feel safe, where they can find support of other people, where they can participate in various social activities which would help them deal with the past as well as open channels for the future", she adds.

Yakjah is trying to create this space for children by organising various activities for them such as a recent theatre festival in the national capital where around 250 children from Jammu, the Kashmir valley and Delhi took part.

First Published: Jan 02, 2004 22:10 IST