Khoj Programme adds milestones, reaches young minds, as it continues its untiring journey A programme designed to nourish students’ critical thinking and creative abilities, it is instrumental in collaborating with schools to provide students with alternate educational and extracurricular activities based on the values laid by the Indian constitution.

25, Apr 2024 | CJP Team

As 2024 continues, with all its turmoil and political frenzy, Citizens for Justice and Peace’s Khoj Programme has been continuing its vital presence, nurturing young minds in the heart of Uttar Pradesh – Purvanchal. The programme, whose original chapter is in Mumbai, has made significant strides in its mission to influence young minds, communities, and the educational landscape in the region of Purvanchal.

What does Khoj do?

Khoj fills many of the voids left by the formal educational system. It collaborates with various schools and engages with students in middle school and beyond, Khoj endeavours, helmed by its stalwart women team members who are teachers and activists in their own right, to nourish and enrich young students’ educational experience and act as a buffer space that grants not just students but also teachers and educators the space to think critically about society. Muniza Khan, the programme’s lead in Purvanchal talks about the project and says, “The Khoj programme is a means to make children better individuals. It is a better medium for understanding constitutional values but not only that, it is a means to discover the inner talents of children. The essence of the Khoj programmme lies in its commitment to religious harmony.”

Khoj is a unique initiative in the field of education that gives an opportunity to children to understand diversity, peace and harmony. We teach students to be critical in their approach to knowledge and decision making. We encourage children to go beyond the narrow confines of their syllabus, and foster an open atmosphere of learning and sharing within the classroom. The emphasis is on pluralism and inclusion. Because the future is worth fighting for. Donate now to help take Khoj to students from all sections across India. Khoj will be made available to more children in many more schools with your support.

Khoj in action

Come hail or storm, the team keeps going. In December 2023 numerous initiatives by the Khoj team took place. The programme’s Varanasi Field Office of CJP remained actively engaged in various community-oriented initiatives and educational programs. After successfully conducting an essay-writing competition, Khoj distributed certificates and medals at one of the school’s where the Khoj programme runs. The ceremony was organised by the vice principal and was held in celebration after the essay competition where some of the essays were read out by the young student writers. There were also various discussions held during the event which narrated the composite heritage and culture of Varanasi and the need for such histories and cultures to shine brighter and reach more people. Students eagerly participated in the programme. Shazia, a student from one of the school’s, wrote about the increasing distance between people and hatred in her essay and talked about the need for unity and understanding among diverse communities. Reciting her essay aloud, she stated, “Hatred increases hatred and love increases love. Be it Hindu or Muslim, or in any other relationship – if there is hatred then hatred only increases, hence one should not hate. Allah and Bhagwan are one. We are all human beings created by Allah and Bhagwan. Those who have bad thoughts hate us.”

Various students from different schools expressed joy over their participation and appreciated the topics related to religious unity that were provided. During the session, a class 5 student from one of the school’s, Aaradhya Class 5th wrote as part of Khoj’s well-received module and exercise, ‘letter to God’, भगवान महंगाई इतनी ज्यादा बढ़ गई है और बढ़ती जा रही है. भगवान आपने एक जिंदगी दी है उसे भी महंगाई की वजह से इंसान जी नहीं पा रहा है | भगवान महंगाई कम कर दीजिए | मेरे पापा मम्मी बहुत मेहनत करते हैं फिर भी भगवान हम सब गरीब बहुत परेशान रहते हैं|”

(God, prices have increased so much, and keep on increasing. You have given us one life, but due to inflation, people are not able to live. God, please reduce the inflation. My mom and dad work very hard, yet God, we all poor people are very troubled.)

The team members also conducted a science exhibition at a school, tapping into the young students’ creativity and knowledge.

Children pose with their science models

Similarly, on December 6th, commemorating Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Parinirvan Diwas, Khoj conducted programmes talking about the giant leader of India. Meaningful conversations about his contribution to India and the world, his visionary justice-seeking ideas, as well as his monumental role in shaping the Indian Constitution were had with the young students.

Understanding the importance of community relations and building trust with resident families as well as setting an example, Khoj’s team attended a session at the Cantonment Church with other citizens after the Bishop had invited them for Christmas day celebrations. The team engaged in celebrating the festival and took it as a means of meeting with community leaders and spreading the message of peace and fraternity.

Khoj field trip

Similarly, Khoj’s work continued in 2024, conducting various activities with students and teachers. In January, even though severe cold led to the closure of schools up to the 8th grade for most of the month, Khoj’s activities continued. In February 2024, Khoj facilitated an educational trip to Sarnath for children from various schools in Purvanchal. Ninety-five children from classes 6, 7, and 8 participated, accompanied by three teachers from each school. The trip was a huge success with the students and teachers alike.

Khoj field trip

The children, who contributed fifty rupees each, brought their own food for the day-long excursion, while the transportation was arranged through two buses provided by Kiran Society. Khoj covered the expenses for petrol, driver and conductor tips, and snacks for the children.

The bus journey itself was filled with interactive discussions about Buddhism and Jainism, broadening the students’ understanding of different religions.

Moreover, on February 15 part of the Khoj Programme, an annual function was organised with children from three different schools where ideas of social harmony and respect to all were promoted. Amidst other activities led by students, a drama was also performed by students on Munshi Premchands’ short story on communal harmony, called Eidgah.

Khoj Library

Beyond academic enrichment, the program extends its reach to address infrastructural deficiencies, partnering with school administrations to enhance access to essential amenities. Moreover, Khoj’s footprint included the establishment of libraries in schools it forms partnerships with, granting students access to books that they might have never had without Khoj.

Library inaugurate by Khoj

Most recently, Khoj inaugurated its library on December 16 at one of the schools. Students expressed great enthusiasm, some students even demanded that Khoj organised more weekly sessions at the school. A student, Shruti of class 5th told Khoj members how Khoj’s infrastructure has granted her to books and helped her hobby of reading flourish, “I was very fond of reading in the library, which was not earlier in my school”.

In March, Khoj held a session titled “My Ideal Religion”, a session that led to a great creative outflow among students. Akanksha, a fifth-grade student, talked about her dream for a religion where all festivals are celebrated and how she hates when religious discrimination between Hindus and Muslims happens. Similarly, Saba, talked about her Muslim faith and talked about the need for a religion embracing the celebrations of all faiths, including Christianity and Hinduism.

Meanwhile, at another school, while annual exams prevented the weekly Khoj classes, the spirit of Women’s Day remained as students fondly remembered last year’s celebrations, and said that they remembered last year’s teachings, and this year celebrated their mothers by acts of appreciation which included offering flowers and making tea for them.

The annual function of one of the school’s was also conducted which saw active engagement of Khoj students in social issues. Three crucial activities were presented, depicting social issues such as voting awareness, interfaith unity, and women’s empowerment through street plays. The students enthusiastically relayed to a happy audience the importance of participation in democracy, religious tolerance, and gender equality.

At the forefront of change, Khoj was originally conceived with great care as a precise intervention aimed at addressing pressing issues plaguing Indian society by using the most potent tool available: the constitution and its guiding principles. In essence, Khoj is a holistic approach to education and societal transformation, one that embodies resilience, compassion, and a strong commitment to building a brighter future for generations to come. Now at almost three decades in age, Khoj stands as a testament to CJP’s endurance, to constitutional values and communal harmony amidst a backdrop of right communal tensions and social turmoil.

With its steadfast team, Khoj in Uttar Pradesh has been etching an indelible mark on both the educational and social fabric of the remote region of Purvanchal.

Committed and Resilient: CJP Purvanchal

Furthermore, CJP’s team member’s commitment extended to voter awareness campaigns, fact-finding missions, and community outreach efforts in areas like Ramnagar, Machharhatta, Sainaka, Gola Ghat, and Koniya.

Community and peace building

The staff also ensures that its internal team is organised, aware and reflective. During one of these citizens’ awareness campaigns, the team organised a screening of the show the Constitution of India which was originally broadcasted by Rajya Sabha and directed by acclaimed director Shyam Benegal. As the team reflects on its work and strives to reach out to more, we are reminded that Team CJP’s work continues untired and unwavering, CJP is now set to reach out to more districts and is working hard to set up its programme in Jaunpur and Ghazipur. In March, Muniza Khan collaborated with Azamgarh Sauharda fellows and gave a session on the importance of liberty, equality and fraternity at a workshop in Sanjarpur. The workshop saw participation from over 50 youth, women, and social workers, predominantly from marginalised communities, who participated in informative discussions about constitutional principles and values.


Khoj: Educating Young Minds To Question The World Around Them

This Is How Khoj Educates Students About Justice And Equality

Almost 3 Decades And Counting – Khoj, A Year In Review

Building Tomorrow’s Foundations: Khoj In Purvanchal

Resilient And Resolute In Their Mission To Advocate For The Rights Of All And Counter Prejudice


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