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04. November 2013

Mothers School Srinagar Kashmir 5

Mothers School Srinagar Kashmir 4

Mothers School Srinagar Kashmir 2

Mothers School in Srinagar, Kashmir

Mothers School initiative launched in Srinagar, Kashmir (India) October 2013

The SAVE team is delighted to announce the launch of our new Mothers School initiative on the chilly banks of Lake Dal, in a preparation workshop with a group of eager and curious new trainers. In the last week of October, Edit Schlaffer and our longstanding SAVE India partner, Archana Kapoor led the introduction to SAVE’s new approach to empower mothers to safeguard their children against radicalization and to promote alternatives to violent extremism on the home front.

The Kashmir Mothers School is an applied follow up to the recent SAVE research conducted earlier this year, with 100 mothers both on the Indian and Pakistani side. The in-depth interviews with mothers from all backgrounds revealed a deep wish to protect their families from the ongoing cycles of turbulence, but there is also an overwhelming sense of victimization and this is perhaps the biggest hurdle to overcome.

The lives and stories of the families explain this perspective since many have lost their children to army sweeps, other children are recruited very young and parents worry for their sons once they return and find it very hard to adapt. From the security point of view, it is a very volatile situation, there is a sense of hatred and fear in the crisp air, and this flares up in pockets of unrest and regular stone throwing. People seem very conscious to it and react accordingly. So there are deep signs of trauma on both sides.

The SAVE team set up in one of the oldest house boats on Lake Dal in Srinagar, and together trainers worked hard to build a strong team using story-telling and multisensory methodologies provided in the Mothers School curriculum. The emphasis is very much on confidence building, and personal agency, a need to ask critical questions and review our own every day actions and words to ensure that as mothers we actively and consciously promote non-violent family values.

One specific challenge to Kashmiri mothers is the need to provide safe outlets for their children, a safe space to run and skip, basic facilities for sports and movement that is so crucial to healthy adolescent development. Mothers Schools provide a platform for mothers to discuss and brainstorm solutions together for the first time and the curriculum helps develop mothers’ agency skills as a group so they can better advocate for their needs in the community as well.

The new Kashmiri trainers will create and train new Mothers School groups across town over the next month and SAVE plans to roll out the initiative across the country following the results of this pilot. We look forward to sharing their feedback and stories as we accompany them on this rewarding and worthwhile journey.


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