Yakjah Reconciliation and Development Network is a voluntary network of young people from all the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh that works for peacebuilding and youth development. The network through innovative education and training techniques for healing and transformation offers a unique learning experience for self awareness, developing interpersonal relations, critical thinking, listening, mindfulness, empathy and leadership. Through experiential workshops, youth across different communities, faith traditions and regions develop unifying perspectives for peaceful co-existence. The network has active core members who are thought leaders, community healers, facilitators, mentors, peace advocates and educators. They envision to bring deeper long-lasting transformation in societies.
Our core work is around ‘identities’ – exploring how they get constructed and exposing the dynamics of that construction so that it allows for identity to become a unifying rather than a divisive factor.
Since 2002, Yakjah has been working with youth across fault lines in Jammu and Kashmir to build peace through healing and transformation processes. Our work opens spaces for listening, dialoguing, critical and self-inquiry thereby breaking habitual patterns of thinking for new social consciousness and awareness to emerge. Our organization’s peacebuilding approach integrates a new way of looking at peacebuilding. We advocate that peace exists even in the midst of heightened conflict and this constituency needs to be empowered through healing, transformation and providing enabling factors like expression skills and safe platforms for self expression. Our peacebuilding process encompasses both inner transformation (inner peacebuilding) and inter-personal or inter-group transformation (relational peacebuilding), both of which build structures of peace. In tangible terms, the theory is applied by bringing together mixed group batches of 50 youth from diverse backgrounds in the age group of 16-25 years. They are guided through two levels of the process. At the first level sharing of personal stories heals the heart, at the second level perceptual process transforms mindsets and lastly, skills like storytelling, theater, videography, art etc equip the youth to take their learning into their communities through different expression mediums and projects. Our peacebuilding is therefore unique as it is training young people how to respond to the external crisis in a positive way by engaging with adversaries and building human connections. It is introducing new concepts like mindfulness, empathy, active listening, cooperative inquiry and is creating new thought leaders, community healers, facilitators, mentors, campaigners, storytellers, peace advocates and educators to bring deeper long-lasting transformation in societies.