ABOUT THE PROJECT: In May 2017, we asked the residents of Umakunda in Ramechhap District, Nepal what makes them feel at peace. Most of the respondents associated peace with the future of their children. Since education is one of the factors in ensuring a better future for children, we coordinated with the principal of Bamti village’s elementary school. We decided to organize a book drive and establish a mini-library for the benefit of the school children. If you are interested in helping us fulfil the local peace aspiration of Bamti village residents, please consider donating books or donating funds to Peace Perspectives for us to construct and install bookshelves, purchase new books, and transport the books to the village.
ABOUT THE BOOKS: We are requesting non-curricular books to promote reading among the children outside their school’s curriculum. To encourage them, we will run a contest of book reviews by the students. The principal of the school also specifically requested science and world history books to guide the teachers in their classes. New/used and English/Nepali books are very much welcomed.
ABOUT THE SCHOOL: Two years after the 2015 earthquake that hit Nepal, the reconstruction of elementary school in Bamti village is still underway and they had to do with makeshift classrooms for now. The school has 63 children and 6 teachers.
ABOUT BAMTI VILLAGE: Bamti village is located in Ramechhap District, Janakpur Zone, eastern Nepal. As of 2011, Bamti (or Bamti Bhandar) has 3,144 residents in 739 households. The lack or inadequate transportation infrastructure contributes to the remoteness of the village. Heavy rains make the rough roads inaccessible leaving residents and visitors no option but to walk 17.6km for around 5 hours to reach Shivalaya, the nearest town where transportation is available during rainy season. Several houses in Bamti still sit in ruins since the 2015 earthquake as reconstruction support from the government is yet to be completely implemented. Like the rest of the country, agriculture remains to be the main source of income for local residents with potatoes, wheat, rice, buckwheat, and millet, among others as their main crops. In May 2017, Bamti residents also participated in the first local elections in 20 years and walked about an hour to their polling station dressed in their best to cast their ballots.
Peace Perspectives team talking with residents about the election.
Father and daughter manually threshing wheat.
Workers rebuilding a house destroyed during the earthquake.
On May 6, 2017, we held a charity event to officially launch Peace Perspectives. Around a hundred people attended our event and shared their definition of peace. We exhibited photos depicting peace and watched performances by Upendra & Friends and Mohit & Friends. Aside from our working committee, we also had peace volunteers who helped in organizing, setting up, and documenting our event. With our official launching successfully done, our real work starts now. We will be traveling again to remote villages in Nepal to collect peace perspectives from everyday people and implement community projects based on their peace aspirations.
The Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) interviewed our co-founder and Executive Director about Peace Perspectives, in addition to her PhD research and recent publication. The following is an excerpt from the ACUNS website.
In this Professional Development podcast, the 2015 Dissertation Award Winner, Dahlia Simangan, is joined by ACUNS Book Review Editor, Anastasia Ufimtseva, to discuss Dahlia’s experiences as a PhD student and her current work as a founder of Peace Perspectives. Dahlia won the Dissertation Award for her work on “The Limits of Liberal Peacebuilding and Pitfalls of Local Involvement: Cambodia, Kosovo, and Timor-Leste in Retrospect”. Considering the merits and pitfalls of both ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches, Dahlia proposes a middle ground that finds a balance between liberal peacebuilding and local involvement.
Since completing her dissertation, Dahlia has been dedicating her time to Peace Perspectives, “an independent, non-profit international organization committed to the promotion of inclusive and lasting peace.” Founded in March 2017 and based in Nepal, the organization operates on the principle that every local peace perspective deserves equal consideration, and promotes small-scale community outreach.
The podcast is available here and the discussion about Peace Perspectives starts at 18:40.
We are happy to share some of the photos of our volunteer models, Pragya and Robin, wearing our official Peace Perspectives t-shirt and taken by our Public Relations Officer, Sudeep. These are the t-shirts donors will receive when they donate US$101 or more and those who bought tickets for our launch/first charity event.