Sojhla for Social Change was set up to initiate projects for peace, education, gender issues and good governance through policy-level advocacy using theatre, documentaries, youth awareness campaigns, group formation and capacity building.
Sojhla was established in 2002 to make the move in social development activities in Southern Punjab Pakistan. The main reason was to work for rural marginalized community facing illiteracy, ignorance, horrifying level of poverty and unemployment in the area. The philosophy behind the existence of Sojhla is that the rural communities cannot solve their problems without participation of their own manpower. There is an ever-broadening breach of connectedness between the general public and government. Sojhla helps such communities to represent their issues through group formation, media campaigns, documentaries and social theaters etc. Sojhla is working for the empowerment and confident demonstration of local culture inherited by respective folk and land, promoting peace through local wisdom of the saints regardless of caste, creed, faith and dogma. Sojhla also believes that a sustainable agriculture is the key to food sovereignty, hence independency of the farmers and reducing the conflicts. Also, active citizenship can only be brought into practice through the promotion and practice of democratic culture individually and at all other levels.
Sohjla's vision: a pluralistic progressive society with equal opportunities for all.
Sohjla's mission: the organization stands for conflict transformation through political socio-economic empowerment of the poor and the marginalized sections for improving the quality of life by ensuring their active participation in decision and policy making at all levels.
- To empower marginalised sections through group formation and linkages development for having their rights, entitlements, access and control over resources at every level.
- To assure awareness about the tangible socio-political movements in order to induce meaningful change in the community
- To provide opportunities for increasing the income level of groups through involvement in agricultural, livestock and home based skill development
- To develop strong connections/ linkages with existing struggles such as movements, alliances, networks and organisations committed to the cause of empowerment of the poor to promote institutional mechanisms
- To translate the native philosophy of non-violence and universal equality of human beings into political actions
Thematic Areas of Sojhla
- Gender Development
- Health and Education
- Peace and Harmony
- Agriculture and livestock development
- Good Governance
- Promotion of heritage and culture
In addition to above SRHR & LSBE (Life Skill Based Education) is a cross cutting theme Sojhla has three units namely;
- Peace & Human Security Unit
- Food Security and Climate Change Unit
- Arts and Culture Unit.
All these units work independently yet the Arts and Culture Unit facilitate the other two units for organising cultural activities and interactive theatre performances Peace and Human Security Unit. SOJHLA organised several campaigns for peace and human security with Actionaid, Sungi, Christian Study Centre (CSC) and Oxfam Novib to promote Active Citizen ship, tolerant behaviours and Interfaith Harmony . These campaigns contributed to bring a change in the attitude of people towards religious extremism. Campaigns were titled as under:
- Campaign for Non Violence and Compassion
- Campaign for Inter Faith Harmony
- Composite Heritage for Promotion of Interfaith Tolerance.
- Aman Mera Haq
- Citizens First
- Education My Right
- Umeed Jawan
The Food Security and Climate Change Unit is working for: 1. Sustainable Agriculture, 2. Revival of Traditional Agricultural Methods, 3. Issues regarding Women Farmers
Awareness raising about hazards of GMOs
This unit has been working for sustainable agriculture and has carried out following interventions; Kato Rani Project facilitates women farmers about their rights; Sojhla formed 20 farmer groups in four districts of south Punjab, Multan , D.G. Khan, Muzaffar Garh, and Rajan Pur; Monthly dissections and follow-up meetings; Three district level forums including interactive theatrical performances on the issues of Land Grabbing in Rajan Pur, DG Khan and Multan Districts in collaboration with Roots for Equity; Six Capacity building and Awareness raising sessions with farmers in two districts Rajan Pur and Multan in collaboration with Roots for Equity and Pakistan Kisan Mazdoor Tehreek Arts & Culture Unit; Since the inception Sojhla used performing arts in promotion of culture and heritage; Sojhla encourages the local artist, singers and producers’ production of innovative documentary films; Sojhla helps starting out filmmakers to more experienced ones, those trained in filmmaking and those who have no formal training in the field, we aim to empower artists, singers, filmmakers and provide them opportunities to articulate their ideas and visions; During last year Sojhla staged 162 theatrical performances on different issues like GBV, voter mobilisation, social & interfaith harmony, minorities issues, social services, peace and interfaith harmony; Performances are also conducted to support various organisations advocacy initiatitives. These organisations include KASHF, Doaba, PPAF, AWAZ CDS, Oxfam Novib, CSC and many more; 2 video documentaries were made on farmer issues and one documentary on open defication is under process; 5 public service messages were developed; Sojhla Web TV is now a popular link found at Sojhla.org, with thousands of hits per month; Every Thursday at 5:30 pm FM 101 also broadcasts a 25 minute duration program by Sojhla
For more information please visit www.sojhla.org , for videos and other media clippings follow the Sojhla Web TV link.