Pakistan Youth Change Advocates was formed with the resolve to inform and inspire young people across the country to actively play their role in making Pakistan a center of peace and development. While we stand firm in our resolve; we at PYCA understand that realizing our vision will prove to be an uphill climb. However, horrific incidents of terrorism such as the attack on Karachi and Peshawar airports, targeted attacks on religious minorities and the slaughter of our children at Army Public School, Peshawar have only gone to ossify our commitment to reclaim the Pakistani identity and way of life that has been held hostage by terrorists and their sympathizers for too long now.
As a first step in this direction, during 2014, PYCA’s “Peace, Advocacy and Social Entrepreneurship” curriculum was taken to 1,500 university-going young people across 25 higher education institutes in all the four provinces of Pakistan. The primary purpose for devising this curriculum was to deconstruct hate narratives that have made headway into the mainstream over the last decade owing to rigorous propaganda by terrorist and extremist outfits. The curriculum facilitates young people to appreciate how hard-line elements have worked to create division, spread distrust and hatred in the Pakistani society and how the youth can play a part to counter and undo the damage.
The success of our preliminary work can be gauged from the fact that during 2014 over 40 groups of students (each group having 4 to 5 members) submitted innovative project ideas aimed at peacefully countering extremism in the society. 17 groups were finalized for the seed grants and thus, the “Peace, Advocacy and Social Entrepreneurship” curriculum was successful in effectively engaging Pakistani youth to actively think on the lines of countering violent extremism (rather than passively absorbing extremist propaganda) and played a pivotal role in formulating the world view of the youngsters across the country.
In the same realm, the active participation of young people was also a manifestation of the fact that Pakistani youth is not only ready to embrace pluralistic ideas but is also geared up to counter extremist agenda head-on.
We credit all our achievements to our generous partners. Their support has been instrumental in allowing PYCA to help young people channelize their energies towards materializing the dream of a peaceful and developed Pakistan.