Ongoing Interfaith Programs Build Bridges in India

Naomi MacMurdie
April 18, 2022

Global Peace Foundation (GPF) India uplifts the country’s historic principle Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam to bridge a diverse religious, social, and economic landscape in local communities. This Indian phrase expresses the same vision of One Family under God, encouraging people from all backgrounds to identify first and foremost as members of the same human family.

GPF India’s Facets of Faith program brings together youth from various faith traditions to interact in discussion groups, engage in sessions with various faith leaders, and visit places of worship with the aim of creating mutual respect and understanding in a greatly diverse community. Since 2018, the program has been combining different fields such as literature, peacebuilding, religion, science, social science, and technology to provide youth with the opportunity to understand the phenomenon of religion and faith from a holistic perspective.

Most recently, GPF India conducted a Facets of Faith interfaith tour in March 2022 in the Delhi-NCR region. DITU Youth Peace Club, a university campus group representing GPF youth, participated in a Facets of Faith program on April 2 at a Sikh temple.

Another GPF India project that has been building social cohesion and fostering community engagement in peacebuilding is the SMILE program. The name is derived from the project’s goal to help both the volunteers and the recipients of their kindness to find joy and a transformation towards positive attitudes and a willingness to collaborate for the greater good of their communities. In fact, participants are called “Givers” and “Future Givers” to encourage an attitude to pay kindness forward and uplift the community at large.

Two volunteers talking to a crowd of children

Volunteers in the GPF India SMILE program provide supplies and education for hygiene and sanitation to families.

Volunteers in the SMILE program collect and distribute donations to families in need, including food, clothing, essential hygiene supplies, money, and education. SMILE has been transforming lives since 2018, helping marginalized communities with a particular focus on assisting families in jhuggis (slum dwellings) who depend mostly on a daily wage obtained from farming labor.

Ongoing SMILE drives have assisted a diverse population of women, children, and the elderly from various castes and religions.

Learn more about our peacebuilding activities in India.

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