The Optimist Citizen

When waves of stigmas hit the shores of certain communities in Mumbai, SAHER navigated them to a peaceful haven

“Amidst all the difficulties, there will be a hope to overcome; amidst all the problems, there will be a chance of a solution. And when you take these chances, with the hope of changing the bad, that will be the time you will succeed” ; for some, mere words, but for SAHER, their way of living !

SAHER: Society for Awareness, Harmony and Equal Rights, is an organisation based in Mumbai which fights the odds of inequality and illiteracy in this ever developing country . Witnessing deep differences based on religion, language, and education amongst the youth in the heart of Mumbai, SAHER took part in the Samjho Toh Express, a 9 month long campaign initiated in 14 states, by Commutiny -The Youth Collective, which broke religious and social stereotypes amongst thousands of youngsters from diverse social, economic and religious backgrounds.

They organized numerous events where they brought children from the English, the Urdu and the Madrasa medium schools together and made them work in each other’s company to help them understand the “problem of identity”. In another event, they created a module for the students of a government school in semi English and the local language to give them a deeper look in gaining an understanding of various communities.  They also took them on a “Heritage walk” to make them see the beauty of “Bombay” . Also, during their Annual Peace Meet, they held an “Inter community cooking competition” where women from various communities came together and competed in an interactive way and hence get to know each other well. They have also planned to release a booklet of the recipes of various dishes from different communities  to spread the message of intercommunal heritage and harmony. Along the Samjho Toh Express, SAHER was able to reach 58 students from diverse backgrounds living in Mumbai.

Before the campaign, some of the students of a Madrasa didn’t even knew that there are other religions which exist beyond their own. This might seem as an absurdity in 21st century Mumbai, but it is true. Through the campaign, the students have understood what life is in its true form and that there is much more to it than just their neighbourhood. They now know that there is many horizons beyond the concept of religion which binds humanity together.

SAHER presently runs a school with a batch of around 40 girls, between the ages 12-16, who are made to reconstruct their thinking via technology and face social issues and stigmas with a firm determination of overcoming them. This shows that along with the Samjho Toh Express, SAHER has not only helped people of stratifying divisions interact together, but has also shown a wonderful way of binding people, for a better tomorrow!


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