Exchange for Change is an interactive initiative by Routes 2 Roots (R2R) and The Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP) that aims at improving relationships between school students in India and Pakistan. The program seeks to help students across borders realize that dialogue is not just possible but sustainable too. Through cross-cultural communication we have realized that students can have a clearer understanding of their history, culture and life styles. Such interaction will in turn lead to a positive change and eliminate cultural misconceptions and inter-generational conflict.
First round of Exchange for Change 2010-2012 – In first round of Exchange for Change, 2400 students participated from 10 schools in 4 cities of India and Pakistan (Delhi, Mumbai, Lahore and Karachi)
Second round of Exchange for Change 2012-2013 – 3500 students participated from 17 schools across 6 cities (Karachi, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Delhi, Chandigarh and Mumbai).
Third round of Exchange for Change 2013-2015 – This third round of Exchange for Change initiative is set to be the biggest with 5000 students from 31 schools in 7 cities across the two countries making it the worlds largest Oral Histories Exchange for Change program (Delhi, Mumbai, Dehradun, Lahore, Karachi , Islamabad and Rawalpindi).
EFC program has various modules in the year long activity commencing with The ‘Letters to Dear Friend,’ series during which students engage in letter writing activities, sharing their thoughts, values, hobbies and interests with each other. A special emphasis is laid upon discussing historical and cultural facts so that students are not only able to make friends across the border but also participate in information exchange. The ‘Photography Series.’ involves students in making postcards, greeting cards and collages based on four themes: school life, food, festival, marriages and historical monuments. This endeavor enables students to familiarize each other with their history. culture and lifestyle. The ‘Oral History’ series was also conducted, adding an audio-based dimension to the project. Students interviewed their grandparents, collecting historical narratives about various cities across Pakistan and India as well as their recollections of the early years of Pre and Post Independence.
The Exchange for change model was developed as a result of competing demands :-
- The Oral History Project goals which strive towards creating awareness of Pakistan’s joint history with India, among other aspects
- The lack of communication between India and Pakistan and the resultant deficit in history syllabi of schools of both the countries
- Exchange for change program is the only one of its kind which connects such a large number of students spread over a year with sustained communication .
- There is no cost involvement for the school or the child and the entire costs are met by Routes 2 Roots NGO and its partner NGO Citizen Archive of Pakistan with help from private donors.
- The model consists of four phases each requiring students aged ten to fifteen to engage in open dialogue. The phases are detailed in this presentation. In this exchange program 5000 students are participating directly from 31 schools and 7 cities including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad & Rawalpindi in Pakistan and Delhi, Mumbai & Dehradun in India.
The program culminates with select participating children getting a chance to visit the other country and to meet their counterparts who they communicated with for several months prior to the visit. Our survey shows that 79% students believe that India and Pakistan can be friends and can co-exist peacefully. The opinions of Over 92% students were changed through letters received from their counterparts and over 75 % wrote they had learned positive things about Pakistan. 95% students believe that the new generation of India and Pakistan can contribute towards achieving peace between the two nations.
“Exchange for change” 2013-2015 Launch In India
H.E. High Commissioner of Pakistan in India Mr. Salman Bashir, Minister for Law & Justice Mr. Kapil Sibal, Bollywood Actress Ms. Juhi Chawla at the launch of third round of “Exchange for change” 2013-2015 with members of Routes2Roots and citizen archive of Pakistan.
“Exchange for change” 2013-2015 Launch In Pakistan
Famous Pakistani Singer Atif Aslam launched “Exchange for change” 2013-2015 in Karachi, Pakistan. Present at the function were Founders of Routes2Roots, India along with Founder and members of parter NGO, Citizen Archive of Pakistan. “Exchange for change” 2013-2015 is the world’s largest Oral History Program connecting 5000 children from 7 cities and 31 schools of India and Pakistan.
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- Exchange for Change
Phase one letter to “Dear Friend”The phase one of the activity involved exchanging letters. These letters were an ice breaker between the students on both the sides.
Phase Two Postcard SeriesOnce the ice was broken with the letter writing activity, the program moved non to the next phase of writing post cards. Children on both ends were asked to click pictures of what they felt like sharing with their counterparts.
Phase Three Photography SeriesAfter the postcards had been shared among the students with pictures from their own surroundings and places or things of their interest, phase 3 was initiated. In this phase there was sharing of pictures but with a difference.