Peace Gong is a children's newspaper run by volunteers operating in the Ladakh, Kashmir and Jammu regions of India. This is an unique journey that began in October 2012 when the first issue of The Peace Gong was launched. It began with the humble effort to build bridges of friendship amongst children of the world and prepare them to work for a nonviolent planet.
We presently have a print edition, a web edition, a Talking Paper and Wallpaper. In the future we hope to reach out to children through other digital platforms. We have been working with a number of partners like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, United Nations Volunteers, Rehabilitation Council of India (a Government body of India). Significantly, we are now working with the South Asian Initiate to End Violence against Children, an apex body of SAARC on violence against children in South Asia. Through this partnership we hope to reach out extensively to children of all countries of South Asia and raise our collective voice against violence on children.
In the past two years, we have been able to bring together children from the length and breadth of India. We have Peace Gong teams from Manipur to Jammu and Kashmir; Kerala to Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. Not just within India, we have our friends from other countries who have made the Peace Gong a global platform. Nepal, Pakistan, Germany, Morocco and children from several other countries have and are joining our team to promote intercultural dialogue and peace through media literacy education.
The Peace Gong is not just a platform for children to write on social concerns but is also a vehicle to promote child participation for community building. It is also a vehicle to promote child rights issues. The importance of media literacy education for peace has been succinctly articulated by our former Associate Editor and now Coordinator, Syeda Rumana Mehdi, Media has always played a poignant role in inspiring the youth to stand up against non-violence. Today's generation is much more sensitive; the more the exposure, the more they are forced to think and react. So young people who acquire communication and media literacy skills are in a position to use these dexterously and contribute to the culture of peace and nonviolence in a greater way.
Peace Gong's aim
To develop communicative, semiotic and cultural skills along with critical thinking abilities amongst children so that they can negotiate the increasing complexities of today's world. This is to help them to voice their thoughts and perspectives on social causes. In fact, Rumana has articulated the Guiding Principles of the Peace Gong; Let every dream become Martin Luther King's dream, let every step towards peace become Mahatma Gandhi's Salt March and let every obstacle in your path become Nelson Mandela's painful twenty-seven years in prison. Promise yourself that you will contribute your best to make the phenomenon of violence outdated, promise yourself that you will try to motivate your friends to walk on the path of nonviolence. The world today is seeing a large number of cases of violence against children. So if you want rise in answer to hostility, the time is now. We, the Peace Gong team invite children from all cross-sections of the society to initiate dialogues and discourses to end brutality against your brothers and sisters, to make a canvas out of the uncolored pictures, to get to your feet not for yourself but for the sake of others. Together we can break the boulder of violence, and uproot the long- lived trees of hypocrisy. We want to end the puddles of tears, and terminate violence against any of our peers. We want every child to hold a book and pen in hands. The one who has never uttered a word to speak. We wish to end FEAR amongst all our friends through the philosophy of nonviolence and peace. So pick up your pens and write the destinies of those who can have glitters and sparks in them to remove some weight of anxiety from your shoulders. Swami Vivekananda rightly said; "All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in our own mind". On the other hand, UNESCO had said; "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.
The Peace Gong connects children from Kargil to Kerala, Agartala to Andaman and across the Asia Pacific region. It has expanded into Peace Gong Bureaus in five different countries, as well as 12 states across India. Peace Gong has evolved into a powerful volunteer movement with neither an office nor staff nor any funds. Its strength is its youth volunteers who work closely with child reporters to bring social change. Children with no access to quality education now produce reports on diverse social issues.
UNITED NATIONS VOLUNTEERS AWARD: On 25 September, Richard Dictus, Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, presented the United Nations volunteerism award to the Peace Gong Kashmir Bureau.
Peace Gong volunteer Thansila has been selected as one of three Asian Girl Rights Ambassadors for the International Day of the Girl celebrations in Taiwan