SAVING YOUTHS | Nagarik Aawaz


Our Initiatives

As a consequence of 10 years of armed conflict in Nepal, more and more people were displaced from their villages. There was a huge threat of insecurity for youths in particular as the both groups pressured them: from the state force and from the Maoist party. Many of these youths fled their hometowns in the middle of the night in search of relatively safer places like in Kathmandu or in India. So, many of the conflict affected youth, mostly those whose immediate family members were killed or were in threat of being killed, were leading a displaced life in major cities of Nepal, with no source of income, work or opportunity for them to continue their studies with leaving their families and social networks behind and find themselves in a very difficult situation. In these conditions they were forced to live frustrated life with unsure future. In addition to dealing with the traumas they faced, these young people had to adjust to the life in cities, which was not only drastically different from their homes, but also need competitive requirements to keep up with the surroundings.

Since most of these youths were educated and capable Nepalese, it was important that they were provided the opportunity to learn and sustain them emotionally and practically. Therefore, feeling the urgency to provide such displaced youth with the learning space and positive environment, Nagarik Aawaz initiated the “Displaced Youth Volunteer Program” in 2002 by its own resources with the thoughtful internal homework. The aim of this initiatives was to provide these youths (who were victims from both sides –the Maoist and the state), the safety net, broadening their knowledge about peace and development, providing them psychosocial counseling and to provide them some kind of practical skills. The program helped these conflict victims’ youths to transform from the feeling of revenge and anger to forgiveness and reconciliation, building hope, relation, trust building among them and help them to internalize their self esteem by realizing their potential for their community peacebuilding. Nagarik Aawaz used to provide them little stipend of the amount Rs.2000 so that these youth can sustain their daily livelihood, support their families and continue their studies at that time where none of the state machinery had supported any kind d of financial and psychosocial support to these displaced communities. There is a saying in Nepali, “save seeds in the times of famine’ Nagarik Aawaz equally felt important to save “youths in the time of war” and due to Nagarik Aawaz’s initiatives it was able to save more than 1000 youths who otherwise have lost their daily normal life with mental instability and with the hardship to sustain their daily livelihoods. Currently most of the youths who were associated with this program are carrying forward peace-building and reconstruction work by engaging their communities for this work with their skills, knowledge and confidence building. Building on experiences of this initiative Nagarik Aawaz has been implementing various peacebuilding programs with redesigning and remodeling the program as per the time and context.