November in India

12 December 2017, 1:09 PM
Students at a school in Ahmedabad, India participate in a group warm-up during a URI Environmental Workshop.

Environmental Coordinator, Katherine, and Youth Ambassador, Sakhawate, play a warm-up game with 200 students from The Apollo International School in Ahmedabad, India (West Zone) during a URI Environmental Workshop.



During the month of November I had the honor of visiting with Cooperation Circles from across India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The Spirit of URI was extended to me at every point in my journey, beginning at the India National Assembly and during visits with CCs and URI volunteers in India's West, East and North Zones. 

India National Assembly

Youth In Action Workshop: Paving a stronger pathway to peace

During the first morning of the India National Assembly (November 10th -12th, 2017), participants joined in active discussion on how we engage and integrate and create opportunities for young people in our communities. 

We began by hearing from four young leaders from North Zone, Bangladesh, East Zone and South Zone, who shared about their role and responsibilities in their Cooperation Circle, the focus of their work, and their reflections on the importance of intergenerational dialogue. The young leaders were well received and many found it refreshing to have young people at the front of the room sharing about their own work rather than hearing about the work through an elder speaking on their behalf. You can listen to a recording of these leaders below (spoken in Hindi and English). 

After centering the voices of young people, we split all participants at the Assembly into eight groups who were then given a topic with accompanying questions (see attached). Some groups reflected on their community decision making processes and how they can support young people's participation in their community; some addressed intergenerational cooperation and the challenges that arise when people of different generations work together; and some discussed religious and cultural stereotypes of young people and how we can better support young people as they challenges these stereotypes and take on new roles in their community. 

We were grateful to have the chance to share our views and come to new understandings about how we can support young people. It was particularly interesting to learn how faiths and cultures have different expectations and afford different opportunities to the young people in their communities. 

Cooperation Circle members from India's North Zone, Bangladesh, East Zone and South Zone.

Young leaders share with the Assembly about the work of their Cooperation Circle, their responsibilities, and their reflections on the importance of intergenerational cooperation. 

Breakout groups during the Youth In Action Workshop

Breakout groups discuss the following topics: Community decision making; intergenerational cooperation; and stereotypes of young people. 

Sample discussion question from the Youth In Action Workshop

Sample discussion question from the Youth In Action Workshop 


West Zone Visits 

Ahmedabad, India 

  • Run for Unity is a soon-to-be youth-led Cooperation Circle brining awareness to waste issues, promoting community clean-ups and recycling and repurposing of materials. Read more.
  • Ekta and Roshni CCs raise awareness about community challenges through street performances. Listen to a song they wrote about speaking your mind when you believe in something. 
  • Students at Apollo International School brainstorm ways to improve the air quality around the homes and school. Their ideas came in response to the prompt: Imagine what it would be like to wake up in a world without any trees... Read more about the workshop
  • At Bhata School, students shared art they had made about the importance of a healthy environment and rallied their peers with speeches about reducing air pollution by planting trees. Check out their artwork.
  • Members at St. Xavier's shared a street performance they created to raise awareness about waste issues and recycling. Watch the full performance


Sakhawate at Apollo International School

Youth Ambassador from India's West Zone leads 300 students from Apollo International School in a workshop on the importance of caring for the environment. 

Bhata School Environmental Speeches

Students from Bhata School give speeches to their peers and teachers on the topics of air pollution and the importance of planting trees. 

Run for Unity members with URI Field Organizers and Staff in Ahmedabad

Youth ambassadors introduce their new Cooperation Circle, Run for Unity, a youth-led initiative to clean up their community, reduce waste and promote recycling. 

Bhata School Ahmedabad

Students from Bhata School in Ahmedabad hold up their drawings on the topic of the environment. 

East Zone Visits 

Bankura, West Bengal 

  • Rural Development Society brings economic opportunity through sustainable projects to groups of women. Their projects include growing organic mushrooms, overseeing a banana plantation, using a solar-powered pump to supply potable water to village households and reestablishing biodiversity through tree plantation. Learn more about their work
  • Sister Nevedita Peace Circle creates economic opportunity for women through bountiful mango gardens. Read more about the project

Asansol, West Bengal 

  • Ektaan CC shares a sneak-peak of a performance they are working on about Hindu-Muslim relations. Take a look! 
Sister Nevedita Peace Circle CC, Bankura

Sister Nevedita Peace Circle's Self Help Group shows Katherine to the mango gardens 

Ektaan CC Performance

Ektaan ("one tone") CC gives us a sneak-peak of their original theatre piece on Hindu-Muslim relations 

Members of a SHG pose near their banana plantation

Women from Self Help Group associated with Rural Development Society CC stand next to their banana plantation. 

Cooperation Circles Involved

Ektaan CC

"Our purpose is: to foster healing through music, art and culture; to create a communal platform of cross-cultural dialogue; to develop understanding among traditions through shared learning; and to aim for a peaceful, blissful community."