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The beginning of our work goes back to December 1992 when the destruction of a mosque in Uttar Pradesh, India by fundamentalist forces changed the social fabric and the historical context in which an entire generation would be growing up. The tremors of the communal conflict that ensued were felt across the length and breadth of India and particularly in the commercial capital of Bombay where the meaning of identity took a twisted turn for young people. The futures of many of these youth would change forever and move in unprecedented directions. Some were fed on the alienation and discrimination resulting in the infamous bomb blasts of March 1993, while there were others who picked up the pieces to rebuild communities. SAHER's story is the story of one such community that suffered atrocities, but emerged out of the darkness with a light that would touch many lives positively. A bunch of youth from Jogeshwari developed a deep fear of communal riots and resolved that no one should ever go through what their familes and friends had experienced in 1992-'93. They got together to start a cricket club and a theatre group that would spread the message of peace, fostering intercommunity interactions and building respect for diversity.

Taking the initiative further, we realised that communal violence and mob frenzy is momentary and ends within a few days. What linger on are deep scars of alienation, discrimination and mistrust, across communities. It takes decades to embalm these wounds that lurk in the minds of people. Over the years, people residing in communal ghettoes have made little efforts to know the 'other' and though children and youth meet in formal spaces of schools and colleges, stereotypes and mental constructs about each other run very deep. Educational systems emphasizing a qualification and a career orientation seldom delve into the social aspect of nurturing a citizen who is aware, responsible and sensitive to the world around.