LAHORE: “It’s been surreal to be in Lahore and this will be an experience that I will never forget and carry it with me wherever I go,” says Ira, 17, an Indian student who along with five other students is on a week-long visit to Pakistan.
“I have found many similarities between the home of my host family and my own home. I felt like being home all over again and had the feeling of being loved,” Ira said.
The Indian students were hosted by local families in Lahore. The Seeds of Peace organised a seven-day Cross Border Trip which brought six students from Mumbai to Lahore in order to provide them with a first-hand experience about life in Pakistan.
The Seeds of Peace is a non-government organisation that works towards conflict resolution in many regions of the world, including Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.
The week-long stay entailed visits to historical sites in Lahore, which included a trip to witness the flag-lowering ceremony at Wagah Border.
The visiting students learnt more about the Pakistani education system and also had an opportunity to interact with the students outside of their host families.
“It has been lovely to have the Indian Seeds here to share our culture with them. Having the students at my home and being so close with them allowed us to discuss about different issues, and our cultures and different events. I hope to host them again and wish it could have been for a longer period of time,” said Jazib Ijaz, 17, a Pakistani student.
Sajjad Ahmad, country director Seeds of Peace Pakistan, said the basic objective of the trip was to provide both Indian and Pakistani students a rare opportunity to interact with one another on an individual level by sharing conversations, meals, as well as making each other aware of their respective cultures and countries.
“We encourage a people-to-people interaction between Pakistan and India, which can lead to improved relations between the two nations,” he said.