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    Young Story-Tellers Extend An Olive Branch Across India, Pakistan Borders

    Civil societyYoung Story-Tellers Extend An Olive Branch Across India, Pakistan...
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    Young Story-Tellers Extend An Olive Branch Across India, Pakistan Borders

    Lighthouse, a non-profit media organisation, has launched a global campaign called ‘Beyond the Borders’ with an aim to amend the long-standing rift between India and Pakistan. 

    By Khushi Malhotra

    A meeting place is buzzing in cyberspace where strangers from India and Pakistan write letters and tell stories. They even share jokes (and who knows, recipes) and speak cricket and Bollywood.

    ‘Beyond the Border’ is a campaign to forge friendships, unite people and prod peace across regions embroiled in a history of conflicts. It is led by Lighthouse, a Bangalore-based organisation.

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    With over 50 stories so far, it is turning into a destination for young Indians and Pakistanis to showcase their unique narratives of true love and tolerance.

    The tales come from the heart. As Ashitha Nayak, the founder of Lighthouse says, “By uniting strangers across the border though storytelling, we are proving that at the heart of it all, humans prefer peace to war.”

    “This project is our attempt at showcasing the innate human ability to form connections eve in environments rife with conflict and hate.”

    Diversity. Inclusion.

    This cross-border civil society led digital ‘Beyond the Border’ collaboration is jointly helmed by Shravani Vangur from Bangalore, India, and Sara Hassan who lives in Lahore, Pakistan. Shravani studied engineering; Sara, a literature major.

    India Pakistan Lighthouse Beyond borders peace friendship inclusion diversity
    Ashitha Nayak

    The project in SouthAsia hinges on exchanging stories written in letters (the pun!) and is fully operational in three major world regions — South Asia, South America (Chile and surrounding regions), and parts of the African sub-continent.

    “We’re trying to make diversity, equity, and inclusion a lived reality, one story at a time,” Ashitha says.

    As a new-age storytelling organization connecting people across boundaries and bridging intercultural gaps, Ashitha says, Lighthouse works to connect the dots across cultures through diverse, inclusive, and powerful narratives.

    “Humans have the integral capacity to transcend all of the negativity surrounding us. We aim to help be a stepping stone for at least a few souls on either side of a diverse border to only understand we are more similar than different,” shares Shravai Vangur, Campaign head of Beyond the Borders.

    “Beyond the Borders is our hope for a future; one built upon the foundation of opening discussions and forging genuine connections both old and new. As a cause close to my heart and home, I am gratified we get to explore Indo-Pak stories in such creative outlets. We bring together our audiences, collaborators, contributors and more to witness narratives based on friendships, love and understanding to prove storytelling and positive perspectives truly do have an impact on the journey to peace,” shares Sara Hassan, Campaign head of Beyond the Borders.

    For the sake of peace

    The effort is to form a global, intercultural community of authors, artists, and film-makers makes stories from distant cultures accessible to the world at large.

    Envisioning peace by forming friendships in environments rife with conflict Currently, in collaboration with Aaghaz-E-Dosti, South Asian Peace Project, and other organizations, Lighthouse has launched ‘Beyond the Borders’, a campaign that connects strangers across the India-Pak border to exchange letters, share stories, and bridge the conflicted cultural divide.

    As a non-profit media enterprise, Lighthouse aims to connect the dots across cultures through diverse, inclusive, and powerful narratives. Lighthouse, with funds and support from the Melton Foundation, an international non-profit promoting global citizenship, works in three major world regions – SouthAsia, South America (Chile and surrounding regions), and parts of the African sub-continent.

    Time will tell if there is a future in forming a global, intercultural community of authors, artists, and film-makers or peace.

    Till then, we leave it to a bunch of young women, giggling their way through a romantic experimentation in accessing and telling stories from distant cultures.

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    Khushi Malhotra
    Khushi Malhotra
    Khushi is a published author, screenwriter and a budding journalist from Delhi. She loves travelling, yoga, chocolates and craves intellectual conversations.

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