Logo SAVE - Sisters against violent extremism

17. February 2009

Shantanu Saikia © WwB

Shantanu Saikia, a Delhi based journalist who lost his wife in the attacks in the Taj hotel in Mumbai

SAVE group Lucknow © WwB

The participants in the SAVE launch in Lucknow

participants SAVE Delhi © WwB

Participants in the SAVE launch in Delhi at the Insitute for Social Sciences

Nurses Mumbai © WwB

Nurses at the Cama Albless Hospital in Mumbai who saved the lives of the mothers and their babies

Edit Schlaffer & Archana Kapoor, SAVE © WwB

Edit Schlaffer and Archana Kapoor at the SAVE launch at the University of Lucknow

DPS school choir © WwB

The DPS school choir in Delhi

SAVE India

26/11: Never Again?

The global launch of SAVE in Vienna sadly coincided with the 29/11 Mumbai attacks. The unstable and emotionally charged environment that the Mumbai attacks created put the SAVE initiative, newly christened with the SAVE declaration, to test.

Archana Kapoor, ourpioneer who tirelessly leads the SAVE India chapter, was immediately ready to send her New Delhi-based film team to Mumbai to collect evidence of the attacks. “Why does this happen to us?” asked many of the victims and witnesses that we heard on the ground. While shooting the film, Archana sent us a brief message: “The images of the tragedy of these people are haunting me.” Still, Archana mobilized civil society representatives, teachers, university deans, faculty members, journalists, and NGO representatives in India in an extraoridnary way unimaginable upon our departure in Vienna.

The SAVE India 3-city launches in New Delhi, Lucknow, and Mumbai were amazing and received wide media coverage in the leading English and Hindi papers. The common theme of all the SAVE India programs will be the mobilization of the youth against violent extremism.

In New Delhi, we connected with Delhi Public School, R K Puram, a leading secondary school with 10.000 students on the campus and over 60,000 in its other branches in India and abroad (including the Middle East). The DPS principal,Shyama Chona, organized a meeting with the 25 top student leaders of the school for a SAVE workshop. The young people were very passionate about SAVE and they agreed to form a weekly after school SAVE club, calling it "Schools Against Violent Extremism".

The students agreed to have press teams within their club and are already working on letters to the major media outlets. The students overwhelmingly declared that “the children of Mahatma Gandhi stand up against violent extremism”. One student suggested writing a letter to the only surviving Mumbai terrorist Kasab, which was received with much applaud. In addition, the school choir presented a song against terrorism, the first in a series of musical expressions against violence. The lyrics read: "stop it, stop it, throw away your guns".

In Lucknow, a beautiful city in the North of the country that has seen much violence throughout its history, SAVE India will cooperate with the leading local university with 40,000 students on campus. The female dean, Professor Nishi Pandey, is already organizing the faculty to implement SAVE programs on her campus. The school provides a huge female talent pool, as the various departments are filled with educated and ambitious women who are ready to take action. The Women without Borders‘ “Girls fit for Politics!” program will reach out to these young women to empower them with practical skills and hands-on training regarding how to speak up and practice civilized dialogue as well as how to decide to make their mark in their communities. The young women will need these strategies in order to be brave enough to stand up against violent extremism.

In Mumbai, we had a day-long workshop with victims and survivors of the November bombings in order to provide a platform for victims and survivors to share their grief and more importantly, their resilience. The stories of heroism of the nurses of the Cama hospital had not been heard before. It was a unique gathering and we are still shaken by their testimonials. Farid Khan, the General Secretary of Majlis-e -Shoora, came up with a wonderful project at the meeting. Farid Khan proposed to bring the nurses who saved the the lives of over 400 mothers and their babies in the Cama Albless hospital (which was attacked on November 26th) to his mosque in the Muslim quarter of Mumbai in order to highlight the heroism of these Hindi women.

Please click on the following link to read more about the SAVE launch in Mumbai:

SAVE India is on its way to building bridges for all those who are determined to stand up against violent extremism because they believe in the power of words and in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi.

Please click on the following links to read some Indian press articles on the SAVE launches:


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