Exchange for Change is an interactive initiative by Routes 2 Roots (R2R) and The Citizens Archives 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 was the biggest, making it the world's largest Oral Histories Exchange for Change program (Delhi, Mumbai, Dehradun, Lahore, Karachi , Islamabad and Rawalpindi).
Fourth Round of Student Exchange Program 2015-16 - A challenging year for the continuation of Exchange for Change as funding dried up with the result that the partner NGO in Pakistan could not continue with the program. Seeing the success of the program and the impact it had on both sides it was important to continue and hence Routes 2 Roots went ahead on their own to make sure the program went ahead uninterrupted.
Fifth Round of Student Exchange Program 2016-17 - The program continued successfully and 50 students from Pakistan visited India as part of the physical exchange in June 2017.
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 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.
H.E. High Commissioner of Pakistan in India Mr. Salman Bashir, Minister for Law & Justice Mr. Kapil Sibal and Bollywood actress Ms. Juhi Chawla at the launch of third round of the "Exchange for Change" 2013-2015 with members of Routes 2 Roots and Citizens Archives of Pakistan.
Famous Pakistani Singer Atif Aslam launched "Exchange for Change" 2013-2015 in Karachi, Pakistan. Present at the function were Founders of Routes 2 Roots, India along with founders, Routes 2 Roots and members of partner NGO, Citizens Archives of Pakistan. "Exchange for change" 2013-2015 is the world's largest Oral Histories Program connecting 5000 children from 7 cities and 31 schools of India and Pakistan.