Bringing Change Through Connecting Students Globally.

Proposal Submitted on behalf of Kashmir Charitable Trust UK by Ashar Awan

Kashmir Charitable Trust is a registered charity in England with reg. no. 1053171.

Title of project: Virtual Student Connections for cultural understanding to Reinforce Community Ties among Kashmiri Diaspora and native Kashmiris

 

Connecting Classrooms : Transforming students from learners to leaders

 

Project Overview

Connecting Classrooms is a youth-for-youth educational program linking schools globally in service-learning to prepare the next generation for the globalized 21st Century.

 The Challenge: In order to tackle the challenges of the 21st century, we must prepare the next generation for their global reality. The world’s hardworking teachers and professors often lack adequate time, resources and support to prepare our youth for an increasingly globalized society while still meeting important curricula standards.

 

The solution: Connecting Classrooms Project provides educators with tools to teach global education and also the support to use these tools as a way of enhancing existing curriculum while fitting each classroom or campus’s unique culture and needs.

 

CC connects schools to transform students into empowered, discerning and empathetic global actors.

The solution: One World Youth Project provides educators with tools to teach global education and also the support to use these tools as a way of enhancing existing curriculum while fitting each classroom or campus’s unique culture and needs.

We connect schools to transform students into empowered, discerning and empathetic global actors.d support to prepare our youth for an increasingly globalized society while still meeting important curricula standards.

The solution: One World Youth Project provides educators with tools to teach global education and also the support to use these tools as a way of enhancing existing curriculum while fitting each classroom or campus’s unique culture and needs.

We connect schools to transform students into empowered, discerning and empathetic global actors.

 

Introduction: KCT stands for Kashmir Charitable Trust, it is a registered charity in United Kingdom and  Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Vision of KCT: To inspire and equip masses to reach their divine potential

Mission statement: To solve unsolved problems innovatively

Kashmir Charitable Trust (UK) was set up in 1995 by a number of young Kashmiris working in a small northern British town of Rochdale. The objective was to; ‘To relieve the inhabitants and the origins (living elsewhere) of the State of Jammu and Kashmir who are in conditions of need,  hardship or distress as a result of local, internal or external conflicts, natural disasters or by reason of their social and economic circumstances.’
 
KCT is working under the slogan of “aapneyian nal mili the aapneyian waste kam karo” 
آپنیاں نال ملی تہ اپنیاں واسطہ کم کرو\\\\\\\'which simply means “Join your own and work for your own”. Objective of the slogan is for the local community to get involve, be part of the projects and help their own.

KCT has completed many projects including the provision of school uniforms and books in public schools of AJK.

Project Background:The Kashmiri diaspora refers to Kashmiri people who have migrated out of the Kashmir region, consisting of Pakistani-administered Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, as well as Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, into other areas and countries and their descendants.

The United Kingdom is home to one of the largest Kashmiri diasporic populations. The overwhelming number of Kashmiris in the UK are from the city of Mirpur in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. According to various estimates, nearly one-million British Kashmiris are living in UK.

Culture

 Dictionary meaning of culture  is;

1. Development or improvement of the mind by education or training.  

2. The behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age

Kashmiri Culture

Kashmir has the distinction of having multifaceted, variegated and unique cultural blend, not only from the different cultural forms and heritage, but from geographical, demographically, ethical, social entities, forming a distinct spectrum of diversity and diversions into Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh. Its different cultural forms like art and architecture, fair and festivals, rites and rituals, seer and sagas, language and mountains, embedded in ageless period of history, speak volumes of unity and diversity with unparalleled cultural cohesion and cultural service.

Rationale of Project:

Despite technology bringing worlds together, many students lack basic knowledge of international affairs.

The National Geographic – Roper 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey questioned young adults ages 18-24 in nine countries (Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, and the U.S.) on their world geography knowledge contextualized in current global affairs. Some notable findings from this study include:

1)   Only about 20 percent of educated youth could identify Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq on a map.

2)   Only about 20 percent of citizens from the USA and Mexico have travelled abroad

3)   Only four in ten or fewer young adults in all countries surveyed correctly named China and India as the countries with more than one billion people.

4)   Despite the potentially serious nuclear consequences of the conflict over Kashmir, 64% of young Americans did not know that India and Pakistan are the two countries clashing over that region.

5)  Only 11% of young adults in the U.S. reported using the Internet to keep up with current events around the world.

Due to lack of global knowledge assessments, young adults’ inadequate global awareness worldwide, the need for large-scale curriculum reform and integrated cultural knowledge is both clear and urgent.

Importance of Global learning

U.S. President Obama while speaking about the importance of global education

“One thing I never want to see happen is schools that are just teaching the test because then you’re not learning about the world, you’re not learning about different cultures, you’re not learning about science, you’re not learning about math,” the president said. “All you’re learning about is how to fill out a little bubble on an exam and little tricks that you need to do in order to take a test and that’s not going to make education interesting.”

Kashmir Charitable Trust UK Student Connections Project is addressing to be twofold: not only is the current education system failing to prepare youth to be successful in the globalized and interconnected 21st century, but the need for educational reform is difficult to communicate.

Objectives:

1.     Students will learn how to communicate across cultures and participate in collaborative dialogues to create change.

2.     Participants will improve communication skills, vocabulary of English and Pahari language.

3.     They will learn cultural songs, dance, music and dressings style of different cultures.

4.     Improve the knowledge about geography of Kashmir and UK.

Let them see the other side of the world ”

Methodology:

Different activities will be devised for creating better understanding of cultures and enhance the communication and creativity among students on both sides.

Activity Example:

Students from both sides create “Culture Cubes” or lists of six different aspects of their own culture (Heroes, Languages, What’s Cool, Right/Wrong, Holidays) and determined ways to present these elements to people from another culture. The students will then share these Culture Cubes with their classroom peers in Kashmir, through email, film, pictures and voice messages.

As part of the learning process, student leaders facilitate face-to-face connections between domestic and international schools via social media platforms such as Outlook, Skype, Yammer and Chatfe.

Targets: To virtually connectaschool from Muzaffarabad (initially, later we can add more schools from all over AJK) to a school in UK, student can exchange emails in the begining, share knowledge about Kashmiri culture, Kashmiri language, Kashmir crafts and Kashmiri food. You can add more activities of child to child networking and knowledge exchange (like drawings, essay writing, islamic knowledge and ethics. 

 
Outcomes of the project: Those children who contribute to establish a computer lab in Muzaffarbad, will eventually feel a sense of ownership.UK children\\\\\\\'s parents feel better as they will find their offsprings getting closer to their community, cultural and religion. This project will enhance the creativity and wisdom of both groups of children-sitting in Kashmir and UK.

Monitoring: Monitoring and evalutation is very essential for a sucessful project as well as to satisty donor. As the main donor of this project will be the school/children/parents in UK so they can directly monitor the outcomes in the form of a well establish computer lab with internet.
 
Sustainability: The sustainablity of the project is not an issue, because the fixed cost will be provided once by UK side and monthly expenditure will be provided by the schools from other side.
 
Scope of scaling up: There are many donors which have interest in this kind of projects e.g British Council, VSO, DFID which can be involved for exchange programes of students and teachers after a sucessful pilot testing of the project.