SAHER Update

SAHER (Society for Awareness, Harmony and Equal Rights) has recently completed the last phase of their Parwaaz – Nurturing Active Citizens program with sessions on Understanding Politics of Development with Bagadka College. The Parwaaz  programs are interactive journeys of self exploration and collective learning. They enable youths to begin their roles as agents of social change, realise and respect the differences of life and reality through the world and develop their senses of ownership and responsibility towards their communities. Through the program, participants will attend weekly sessions, discussion circles, exposure trips, short internships, action projects and campaigns on social issues which aid in developing these youths into active, conscientious citizens. Around 45 youth attended the sessions which were very interactive, with youth realizing the power of politics and its effects on one’s position in society. 

SAHER also completed a four day workshop on reproductive health with Patuck Gala College in  July. Around 30 NSS volunteers attended the event with the goal to understand their body,  gender and sexuality as core components of understanding health and society. The program intends to educate young people about the adverse effects of risky sexual behaviour, lack of relevant knowledge and inaccessibility of youth reproductive health services. Falsities and myth often surround these issues of personal hygiene, especially in the slum communities where it takes a secondary position to basic livelihood. SAHER work on reproductive health education aims to engage the youth of India with these issues. Issues which, with youth often feeling uncomfortable talking about, can often go on unquestioned.

The next workshops are set to begin in August. 


Pravah Partnership Meeting April 30-May 2 2012

Over the three days of April 30th – May 2nd, the first Pravah Streaming Partnership Meet of 2012 was held at Sanskriti Kendra, New Delhi. Members from partnerships organisations came to participate in the meet and share their experience and experiences as youth workers from all over India.

Over the three days the objectives included:

–          Establishment and discussion of the need for youth development across all sectors

–          Build a collective understanding of the group on strategic streaming partnerships and a vision for social change.

–          To identify and consolidate effective strategies of working with a variety of youth and situations

–          To develop and chart a joint agenda for the Streaming Collective group in regards to; action, research and advocacy.

Through workshops and methods of analysis such as Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, the workshop celebrated the successes of partners and constructively analysed why other projects did not go so well. The opportunities to evaluate as a group, to support and constructively critique each other’s work in an open sharing space left everyone feeling excited and energised. Explanation and development of project ideas like the 5th Space led to deeper understandings of organisations and their work.

The meet finished up with planning for the next three months, culminating in another Streaming Partnership Meeting to be held in Jaipur on August 9th.-11th. Goals included development of the streaming community’s collective experience, exchanges and room for growth of an effective partnership of open sharing, teaching and learning between partners now and through the future.

Rama of SAHER awarded the Peacebuilder Award 2012

On the 21st of June, 2012 at the Council of Foreign Relations in Washinton D.C, co-founder and director of SAHER (Society for Awareness, Harmony and Equal Right) in Mumbai, India, Rama Shyam was awarded the President Martti Ahtisaari Peacebuilder Award 2012. Martti Ahtisaari was the president of Finland from March 1994 to March 2000. His international career working for peace and reconciliation, amongst many other things, includes working as the United Nations Commisioner for Namibia and forming the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI). The CMI helped solve problems in Indonesia, the conflict in Kosovo and has lent massive assistance towards resolving conflict in areas like Northern Ireland, Africa and through Asia. He has been an inspiration for peace workers around the world and in October of 2008 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, “for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, the resolve international conflict” (NobelPrize)

The award is awarded bi-annually by the International Youth Foundation to young leaders in promoting peace locally and throughout the world. Rama being awarded with this honour is an inspiration and fantastic recognition of the work being done at SAHER.

SAHER works with youths, helping them develop into mature, socially aware and motivated civil participants. They provide open learning spaces where youth can look inwards and discover who they are, methods of conflict management. The youth develop and engage with the world around them, their perspective on respect and diversity, civil action and career involvement.

Congratulations to Rama, and thank you for giving inspiration and motivation to us all!


“The Nobel Peace Prize 2008”. 12 Jul 2012 (accessed 12/07/2012)


Events calender for July and August now up!

“Inward Bound”

It has been almost two decades years since we at Pravah have been working towards building ‘youth leadership for social change’. Based on our experience and research, we define this ‘leadership’ as a combination of self-awareness, relationship skills and impact on society. Since we believe that change in society begins from change in self, our programs begin from ‘self’ and then take young people to social action… this journey from ‘me’ to ‘we’ is at the core of  all our work.

Since a large part of our work focuses on personal self of young people besides social action in the outer world, for years we have tried to offer young people enjoyable and enriching experiences of self awareness and in this endeavor we have been able to develop what we call- INWARD BOUND!

Inward Bound is an interactive exhibition aimed at enabling young people to gain a better understanding of themselves. It consists of a mix of games, inventories and reflective exercises that students can experience on their own. The whole experience is physically located in a tent-like structure where young people come, explore and walk away with greater awareness of themselves!

We take inward Bound to different colleges where we meet a sea of youth who go through different psychometric tests as they go through the colorful tents and as a result develop a better understanding of their personality, leadership and interpersonal skills.

We have taken Inward Bound in colleges like Kirori Mal, Miranda House, IIT, Indraprastha, Dayal Singh, Zakir Hussain and others and people have loved it.

Dr. Nadira (Program Officer, NSS, ZakirHussainCollege) says “The feedback given by students is truly encouraging. I am sure it will have a positive effect on their personalities.”


Dr. Vandana (Program Officer, NSS, Kirori Mal Colleg) opines “I am glad that Pravah conducted Inward Bound in our college.  I am sure each of our students enjoyed the experience. “

Here is sharing a write-up written by Aashima (NSS- coordinator) of Indraprastha College on Inward Bound in her college.


Inward Bound that was organized by NSS in IP College on 24th September, 2011 saw a hoard of students eager to embark on the journey from Me to We. It was an interactive event which saw mass participation from the students as well as the faculty.  We started early in the day and the program stretched well into the afternoon.

The NSS Unit of IP College was present throughout the day with volunteers coming to help with the setup and to assist the Pravah team and making them feel at ease. The whole experience was one of its kind with attractive tents standing in the middle of the sports field pulling students towards it. In the first tent they were made aware of their personality types, why were who the were and what made them behave in the way they behave to a specific stimulus. The first tent gave way to the second in which leadership and learning skills of the students were analyzed. The ‘tower making’ game attracted a hoard of students which mixed fun with self-awareness. Many among the students were interested in knowing or working further with Pravah. The team answered all their queries and created a database of students interested in working along with Pravah in its various programs.

The feedback from the students was ecstatic. The students felt immensely pleased with the experience and they came out with a better understanding of themselves. Aakriti, a student of 1st year English honors said that she now knew which kind of people would she work well with and why. Sayantani of B.Com also thought that the program was highly beneficial in making her understand why she gets along well with a certain type of people and not others.

I have struggled to know why I cant work with my sister, I know now that we are two completely different personalities and we do not ideally gel well, now that I know this I will take care to avoid the things which create tension between us” – Divya Mehrotra.

All in all Pravah’s first program in IP college was a huge success and laid down the foundation for further collaborations. It was a joyous, fun filled day for everyone involved which ended in everyone leaving with a smile on their faces.

Streaming collective.. promoting youth active citizenship..

Commutiny the Youth Collective (DELHI) – Core Group of the ‘Must Bol Campaign’ at the Reclaiming the Night Event organized in collaboration with Saathi – All for Partnerships in Delhi to demonstrate their opposition to crime against women in the city. Must Bol is a youth led campaign against gender Based Violence , facilitated by CYC .

Seher (MUMBAI)- A session being facilitated on taking stances by Seher (A Mumbai based organization working with children and youth from slums).  

Pravah Jaipur Initiative (JAIPUR)- The environment was very good. People became more aware of what they are doing and what they should do,” Chaitanya (a volunteer) said. “I haven’t shown my film on such a large-scale, like in a mall…it was really very good to know that the crowd who I don’t know liked my movie.”

Parth Laxami Vikas Trust (GUJRAT)- Ankit  (in pink shirt) , founder of Parth Laxami Vikas Trust facilitates a session on conflict positive model with his team of volunteers in Gujarat as Pravah representatives participate to support him and give feedback. Observation of design and facilitation of youth activities by partners is part of selection process  in streaming.  
Patang (ORISSA)- A snap shot from green smart campaign organized by Patang in collaboration with water initiative Orissa-   in March 2011. The campaign was a combination of range of activities including debate, poster competition, fashion show etc. In this picture volunteers are trying to spread the message of environment conservation by participating in environment fashion show.

Journey of NSS, Zakir Hussain College with Pravah…

When the idea of offering leadership journey to student leaders in NSS began, the then Program coordinator of NSS D.U recommended Zakir Hussain College (amongst 6 other colleges) for its vigor. Dr. Nadira who is the Program Officer (PO) of NSS unit in the college for a long time now, nominated five of her most active volunteers for participating in the leadership journey- Rifakat, Ayesha, Deepika, Lokesh and Ashish.

Rifakat, Lokesh and Ayesha

 Dr. Nadira was invite by Pravah in June 2010 for a consultative meeting in which program for student leaders was discussed and POs gave their suggestions. A comprehensive design of the program was then developed by Pravah and NSS. The program kicked off after two months with a three day workshop on team building, self exploration and leadership (20-22nd August) organized at Kirori Mal College. At the end of the workshop Ayesha said “I really liked the workshop because everything here happened through games, we were able to place out opinions and debate and ultimately, things were connected back to our real lives”. Similarly Deepika mentioned “we got to know each other and build  confidence and belief in each other in the workshop.”

ZHC team in a group exercise during the workshop

 The team volunteered to host the next workshop in their college. The next workshop on designing NSS action projects happened in September where teams from six colleges participated. To facilitators, the group looked like they knew each other from many years but cross- college friendships had developed during the first workshop. In the workshop, the team sat together and conceptualized their action project – they invited Dr. Nadira Arif to give suggestions and then made a broad plan of action. The team decided to work on cleanliness since they felt the issue is relevant to their context

 To understand the theme better the team along with Pravah mentor organized a learning day where 20 volunteers saw a film on waste in Delhi and then talked about what they want to do about it.. The action project plan was shared with a larger team. A few planning meetings to detail out the plan of action followed. Ayesha took on the herculean task of putting up a street play on the theme- she coordinated with students and teachers to hold an audition for the act and then worked with the team to develop an original script and finally after 10 days of hard work- breakdown and excitement put up an act that was seen by 200 students and faculty in the college.

Street play by ZHC team being performed at the annual NSS festival

After the act Ayesha commented ‘It made me realize how difficult coordinating a big team is’. Rifakat, Deepika and Lokesh also worked with Ayesha in coordination and in organizing other logistics for ‘the day’, i.e.  30th of December. The day was a combination of host of activities which began with a poster and slogan making competition followed by street play on the theme to spread the message and mobilize people for the final activity, i.e. college cleaning.

 The cleanliness campaign was a great success with principle of the college and some faculty participating in college cleaning. Approximately 100 people took part in the drive. NSS received much appreciation for organizing the day so well. Ayesha proudly says that the canteen area looks neater now as some students have started using bins to throw waste. The leaders feel that the project has given them a different identity in college as people have started recognizing them.

The group was once again called when central NSS asked Pravah to support in designing and facilitating the annual NSS festival. Rifakat came for the first meeting to ideate on the festival.. he gave some good suggestions to make festival a fun and learning experience  for NSS volunteers. The four active leaders were member of organizing committee for the annual NSS fest which happened in North campus on 11th and 12th of February. On the second day Ayesha ad Rifakat presented their action project in front of students and POs from different colleges. All four of them were felicitated by their Program Officer with certificates.

 Rifakat mentions “Pehele galat chizon ko dekhke lagta tha ki main kya kar sakta houn… ab lagta hai mein kuch kar sakta houn… auron ko badalne se pehele khud ko badalne ka mahatva samajh mein aaya hai”

 The group often expressed difficulty in managing hectic academic schedule and NSS work.. however now after exams Ayesha says..” our exams went better this time. Participation in those group forums where we were always told to share our thoughts/ feelings/ views with group has helped us in writing essay type answers effectively”.

 Dr. Nadira is now looking forward to participating in a learning voyage offered by Pravah to Program Officers of NSS from 10-15 colleges… The voyage is a combination of training for POs along with direct facilitation support for student curriculum from Pravah which aims at making NSS a space co-owned by all that reflects  principles of innovation, fun , transformation and learning!

Dr. Nadira Arif, NSS Program officer ZHC