Scores of Kashmiris settled abroad are coming to the forefront, raising a voice for their native land. Almost every one of them is trying his or her best to highlight the plight of Kashmiri people, while some have formed organisations others are going solo.
Chinar: An Orphanage
Chinar USA in partnership with its sister organization Chinar Kashmir is working for the welfare of Kashmiri children – especially orphans. It runs an orphanage, Chinar Home, at Baghat, Srinagar.
Its core members are mostly of Kashmir origin or those sympathetic to the problems in Kashmir.
The orphanage has planned special programs to teach children about the benefits of non-violence, sharing and peaceful co-existence for the rehabilitation of traumatized children.
Funkar International, Inc., is dedicated to preserving and promoting folk art, music, and language of the Valley of Kashmir.
Started by two Kashmiri women, who had immigrated to the United States in 1970s, to overcome the lack of digital format recordings of Kashmiri folk music.
With the support of a few members of the Kashmiri-American community, they raised funds to produce Saaz Tih Awaaz, in 1999, the first digital format recording of Kashmiri folk music greats Ghulam Hassan Sofi, Raaj Begum, and Naseem Akhtar and in 2007, Maenzraath – a collection of wedding songs. Funkar International has developed a partnership with Lama Jamal a Chicago based group to produce a Kashmiri music CD in the United States.
Kashmir Corps is an independent non-profit organization which works for the welfare of Kashmiri society through service and research.
The organisation sends volunteers on summer programmes to Kashmir, with an aim to utilize their knowledge, experience, and resources, networks to support individuals and integrate technology solutions in Kashmir.
Since 2007, every summer its volunteers work in various organisations in the valley ranging from the corporate J&K Bank to NGOs like Help Foundation, Mercy Corps and INTACH.
Last summer, Kashmir Corps hosted the first conference in the US to discuss the developmental and social challenges in Kashmir.
Kashmir Overseas Association
KOA has its origins in the early meetings of several Kashmiri Pandits in Washington D.C. and Maryland areas. The organization has evolved to become a national outfit (in the US) with regional chapters, documented bye-laws, systems and procedures as well as a non-profit status, to seek donations and pursue community actions.
Guru Charitable Foundation
A non-profit organization devoted to improving the quality of education and medical care in Kashmir through various scholarships and programs. Founded in December 2007, it works in close collaboration with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York and the Guru Trust in Kashmir. Currently, the foundation is working and expanding in these areas of teacher training, women’s health initiative, adult health initiative and music of kashmir.
Kashmir Education Initiative
The KEI is a volunteer-driven philanthropic organization started in the state of Massachusetts in 2007.
The KEI works towards all round educational development of poor, neglected and underprivileged Kashmiri students by helping them to pursue superior education through counselling and financial assistance. KEI also helps institutions with similar objectives.
In academic year 2007-2008, KEI sponsored 21 meritorious but underprivileged children in Kashmir.
Skis 4 Kashmir
Skis4Kashmir, Inc. is a non-profit corporation formed by skiers and students from Colorado, US. With the help of the Guru Trust Foundation in Kashmir, India, the organisation is working to promote ecologically sustainable development as well as social equity in the war-torn region by introducing the joys of skiing to Kashmiri children of all backgrounds.
The organisation holds an experiential learning program for Kashmiri children, most of whom have never had the chance to enjoy their mountainous backyard. The programs not only focus on skiing, but wilderness travel and survival, basic first aid, environmental awareness and natural history.
Irfan Kathwari Foundation
In the memory of his elder son Irfan, who died in 1992 during the battle to take Kabul, M. Farooq Kathwari established the ‘Irfan Kathwari Foundation’, which works to promote understanding between the Muslim world and the West.
The organisation brought together scholars and experts from both sides of the Indian-Pakistani dispute. It also roped in American politicians, academics and former diplomats in 1996 to conduct studies and they offered a framework to end the bloodshed in Kashmir.
The group’s report, released in early 2000, offers a supple approach to sovereignty, giving Kashmiris (a majority of whom are Muslim) the right to rule themselves within India or Pakistan.