MUMBAI | Indian Seeds and staff brought together 40 Indian high schools students from different faith backgrounds for the 4th annual Interfaith Harmony Camp in Karjat, outside of Mumbai, from December 14 to 17.
“The camp helped students understand how religious polarization is creating mistrust and violence,” said Sagar Gangurde, Director of Indian Programs.
“The objective was to promote an appreciation of the diverse faiths and belief systems in our society and to examine critically the prejudices we hold about people who practice other religions—or who don’t practice any religion.”
The four-day camp was attended by 14 to 16 year-olds from schools across Mumbai and included Hindus, Muslims, and Jains, as well as atheists, agnostics, and humanists.
In addition to traditional camp activities like Color Games and Group Challenge, participants explored what faith means to them, reflected on their personal experiences with religion, and shared their faith values. They also discussed what their faith asks of other faiths, and whether there is space for different faiths to coexist. At the end, the students revisited their asks of other faiths to discuss how realistic they are.
“[The experience] has translated into a faith in herself and a faith in the essential goodness of all those around her,” said the parent of one participant. “She comes back with the lightness and the gladness of someone who has truly connected.”