I am feeling both thrilled and challenged to be travelling to Kashmir, India this October as a delegate with the Global Citizen Journey Kashmir 2018 project. This will be my third such project, the first two being a library building project in the remote Niger Delta of Nigeria and a year later an orphanage project in Ghana. What really inspires me about these projects is the opportunity to be deeply engaged in shared loving, healing purpose with people of different cultures, religions, languages and ethnic backgrounds. What transpires is so often truly amazing and miraculous!
We intentionally engage in projects in troubled parts of the world experiencing economic and often sectarian conflict, working closely with local organizations in line with our own values of community, peaceful solutions to difficult problems and recognizing the inherent worth and respect for our shared humanity. In this instance the service part of this project involves providing funding and support to several predominantly girls schools in rural Kashmir, India that are lacking even rudimentary water or sanitary facilities, much less teaching materials or even flooring. Our local partner in Kashmir is ELFA (Education and Livelihood for All), committed to service for vulnerable individuals, especially women and children regardless of ethnicity or religion.
And for me the real heart of this and previous projects is what we fondly call “Grassroots Citizen Diplomacy.” Grassroots Citizen Diplomacy is about bringing people of diverse cultural, ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds together. Ten Western delegates and 12 delegates from Kashmir and other states of India will live and work together on the school project, an environmental project, and spend time together in circles to explore ways of communicating with and understanding one another better. I believe person to person exchanges bring grassroots understanding and weave a living, global neighborhood that brings wisdom and healing to us all. When we bring ourselves – with open hearts, listening ears and ready hands – we are deeply touched and transformed by each other’s stories and by the sweetness of essence in every being.
In support of this effort, I am engaged in several fundraising activities, both to financially assist the project and to provide a means by which others who may not be able to physically go to Kashmir but would still like to participate may do so.
One of these is a GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/global-citizen-journey-kashmir
GCJ is a 501(c)(3) corporation. Your donations are tax deductible. Thank you!
The other of these is offering benefit workshops with proceeds going to the project. Most recently “You Have Not Lost Your Innocence,” a gentle, experiential exploration of the healing power of forgiveness (see flyer) on August 19.
To learn more about the project, please feel free to check out the website page: India – Kashmir 2018 – Global Citizen Journey or contact me directly.
Peace, love, blessings
~ Dennis Gaither