Rajib Timalsina

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What are contexts and issues that you work on? How are you using peace education to address these issues? What keeps you going?

Nepal is diverse in terms of caste/ethnicity, geography, language, class, religion and race. Gender, so called untouchability, ethnicity and regionalism are four notable divisions in Nepali context. These divisions are clearly reflected in the schools, While growing up in this society, I witnessed the divisions and discrimination in schools and Nepali children experiencing violence in many different forms, from corporal punishment to bullying to sexual abuse. Most school violence occurs among students, while physical and sexual violence are sometimes perpetrated by teachers or other school staff. Thus, it is very important to make schools safe spaces for learning. I am involved in peace education activities which aim to make the schools safe, dignified, and peaceful through the use of nonviolent communication methods and mobile arts. Many teachers resist the new approach and feel comfortable with the conventional way of doing things. At the same time, many teachers are excited and support the "promoting culture of peace in schools" idea.

What has been your most meaningful or noteworthy moment in your peace education career?

In Nepal, the peace education project of promoting a culture of peace in schools is still in its infancy. In 2019, I had the chance to work with 3 schools to practice the project idea. For 2020-2024, I have the opportunity to be part of a research network called "Mobile Arts for Peace" to be implemented in Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia and Nepal. In this Peace Education action research project, I have the opportunity to work on my idea of "promoting a culture of peace in schools". This is the most noteworthy moment for now.

How and why did you start working in peace education?

I always remember my school days where fear and corporal punishment were the main approaches used by teachers. A lot of differences and divisions also existed among students. Physical attacks and abuse were frequent and common. I always wanted to see a different environment. My aspiration was to see schools as safe learning spaces. When I graduated from the Conflict and Peace studies program, I was looking for some tangible tools which can help us in our day to day life. In 2011, I was introduced to the idea of nonviolent communication through a book. And I got a chance to take part in several national and international practice sessions. I realized non-violent communication is a very powerful tool to understand yourself, and also promote a culture of peace in divided societies. I realized the tool can help create a school environment which is safe, peaceful and dignified.