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Community Mobilization event on Education:
(Press Release - Kashmir Times November 10th, 2012)

CHINAR International organized one day Community Mobilization program on education at Zampathri, District Shopian on November 7th, 2012. Around two hundred people took part in the event including DIET (District Institute of Education and Training) Principal Shopian, DRPs (District resource Person) from Shopian and Srinagar district, Sheep Husbandry Officers from Shopian district, teachers of various schools of Zampathri, officials from Kashmir Government Polytechnic (KGP) along with community members, parents with their children. The program was started with recitation of Holy Quran and Naat's by school children.

President/CEO, CHINAR International (CI), Irfan Shahmiri who presided over the program in his inaugural speech briefed the participants about the organizations and its programs to help vulnerable children, destitute families and marginalized youth. He stressed on the importance of education and the role of teachers, parents and community in imparting education to children. Mr. Shahmiri emphasized that education was the way out of the cycle of poverty and that it's only with quality education children can reach their full potential and contribute to their community. He also highlighted the need for girl education.

Mr. S S Mahajan (Principal, DIET Shopian) spoke on the occasion and appreciated the efforts of CHINAR International. District Resources Persons from Shopian also delivered multiple talks on modern teaching practices for teachers, the role of community and parents on education of children and the religious perspectives of education including stress on girl education. A resource person from KGP briefed the participants about various government schemes for vocational programs in the state.

The event was further enriched by the speech delivered by one of the community elder, Abdul Rasheed Naaz. Mr. Naaz, impressed by CI's intervention in Zampathri and the Community Mobilization program, said that he had seen CHINAR tree giving shade but for the first time he is seeing a fruit bearing CHINAR. He stressed on the importance of education in Gojri language.

Besides the informative speeches, the audience was kept entertained by a series of cultural items prepared by school children of Zampathri. The 14 children in the pilot program introduced themselves in front of the audience which was highlighted by a child (Zahid) who made his introduction in English much to the amazement of the community. A beautiful Kashmiri song titled "Taleem Par Taleem Par" encouraging children to go to school was presented by a group of school girls who also performed Kashmiri Rouf. A humorous skit item based on gender bias, educational awareness and girl education was performed by a group of school girls. Gogri & patriotic song were also sung by the children.

Its worth mentioning that quite a few villagers especially women and children listened to the program from the road on top of a hill. A loudspeaker was pointed towards them. Some of them came running down when the skits and songs were being presented.
The event concluded with prize distribution among children, families, DRPs, teachers, project monitors and volunteers. Community elders also spoke and thanked CHINAR International for their intervention in the village. It was a lot of fun.

CHINAR International currently supports five families and fifteen children in Zampathri village. This program will be scaled up to 50 children and 15 families in the next few months.

Date: November 7, 2012
Venue: Govt. Primary School, Zampathri (District Shopian)
Number of participants: 200 approx. (including govt. officials, women, men, children and community elders)