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Mool & The Village Academy Gbl launch KU Chapter of Sustainable Club 

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Ganderbal: Do we agree that there are a lot of problems in our society? Do we also agree that there are people without work? If there is so much to do, why does this gap exist then?

These pertinent questions marked the beginning of this yet another significant event on Climate Change and Sustainable Development organized by Mool Sustainability Research and Training Center and The Village Academy on November 28, 2022. 

The program was organized to launch the KU Chapter of The Sustainable Kashmir Club in collaboration with the Department of Social Work, University of Kashmir. The occasion also represented another milestone in Mool’s long-term collaboration with the Department on participatory capacity-building programs.

The initiative could not have come about at a better time! The Club, which is a flagship program for youth in educational and learning institutions, brings the community perspective to aid their formal education particularly by delivering mindset training and promoting ecological entrepreneurship.

The day included conversations, deliberations, panel discussions, QnA, and reflections on change, our role, and the knowledge and tools we can bank upon given our living context.

It brought together sixty participants including students and faculty from the Department of Social Work. The goal was to bring grassroots understanding and practicable knowledge to engage the audience.

The program began with an ever-vibrant panel discussion. The panel comprised Fayaz Ahamd Dar, Founder – Mool, The Village Academy, and Sagg Eco Village, Kashmir; Dr. Shazia Manzoor, Associate Professor, and Head, Dept. of Social Work, KU; Lubna Rafiqi, Executive Director, Sagg Eco Village, Ganderbal; Dr. Sarafraz Ahmad Bhat, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Social Work, KU; and Dr. Javaid Rashid, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Social Work, KU.

The discussion exemplified the intergenerational transfer of crucial knowledge and experience. Panelists shared ideas, tools, and techniques from their experience and expertise for students to unravel the many questions they have about how to make a contribution and work to solve issues we face today including climate change.

‘Choices we make on an everyday basis are in fact the answer. For example, the choice of courage over conformism.’ This was shared by Fayaz Ahmad Dar. Proving a blueprint for a journey towards change, whether, in one’s own self or surroundings, Dar shared how a vision and goal-driven life can lead us to success. Dar covered climate change, sustainable development, and the role of youth in his deliberations.

Thinking about and paying attention to ‘small’ and ‘mundane’ is another key, shared Dr. Shazia Manzoor who also spoke extensively about collaborations among the institutions of Mool, The Academy, and KU. 

To build critical knowledge and experience in their field of study, Dr. Manzoor encouraged students to explore traineeships with the two organizations.

The basis of all action is the relationship one has with self. Lubna Rafiqi emphasized the importance of self-love as the core to drive confident and thoughtful behaviors

toward oneself, and by way of extension, toward our surroundings. Rafiqi also discussed the need to personalize the connection we share with our ecology and the resources it offers for our life.

A practice-based curriculum in which ecology and environment are not just ‘taught’ but experienced. Dr. Sarafraz Ahmad Bhat spoke extensively about rethinking the design and bringing as much experience of the field and the ground to the academic spaces to build student capacities.

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