Aaghaz-e-Dosti (literal meaning beginning of friendship) is an Indo-Pak Friendship Initiative. The members are all either students or young professionals, who are doing this in addition to their work. Aaghaz-e-Dosti has also joined hands for collaboration on different initiatives with several organisations time to time.
Started in May-2012 by Mission Bhartiyam, Aaghaz-e-Dosti has aimed to create unwavering bonds of peace and friendship between India and Pakistan. It has involved itself in peacebuilding and conflict resolution by facilitating people-to-people contact, challenging mutual hatred and suspicion, creating a culture of peace and understanding among people of both countries, and highlighting the issues of victims of conflicts.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti has been striving for its goal through interactive sessions in schools and colleges called Aman Chaupals, discussions, seminars, peace workshops, letter and greeting card exchange programmes, an annual Indo-Pak Peace calendar (which is a collection of paintings made by school students from both sides of the border), a virtual peacebuilding course called Friends Beyond Borders (wherein Indians and Pakistanis engage in dialogue over different issues for eight weeks), virtual campaigns that are run on their social media pages, articles by their members on issues ranging from discussing the need for peace to core issues of conflict, letters, appeals, and meetings with authorities on both sides to improve Indo-Pak relations.
With their continuous efforts over the last few years, Aaghaz-e-Dosti has become a prominent voice on Indo-Pak peace. Aaghaz-e-Dosti (Mission Bhartiyam) was winner of the Social Media for Empowerment Awards 2016 in the category of “Communication, Advocacy, and Development Activism” by Digital Empowerment Foundation. Aaghaz-e-Dosti was felicitated by Welingkar Institute of Management (Mumbai, India) at the Global Peace Initiative 2015 programme. Aaghaz-e-Dosti was also finalist under “Advocacy” and “Best use of Social Media” at the 3rd eNGO South Asia Challenge 2014.
Aaghaz-e-Dosti is an unfunded, voluntary initiative managed by students and youths of both countries who pursue this work in addition to their studies or professional work. No member gets any form of monetary remuneration and the initiative runs on voluntary model.