Principled, Pragmatic, Impactful
Seventy years of on-again, off-again war in India’s Kashmir region between that country and neighboring Pakistan have killed thousands of people on both sides of the conflict.
Indiana University graduate Raheela Narchoor, a native of Kashmir, knew she couldn’t single-handedly stop the violence, but she knew she wanted to help alleviate some of the suffering it caused women in the region, and she knew her master of laws (LLM) degree could help.
“Women in Kashmir continue to be victims in the ongoing cycle of violence and abuse,” said Narchoor, who graduated with an LLM in 2009 from Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington. With that in mind, she founded the Centre for Human Development in 2014 with the goal of helping Kashmiri women learn business development skills to improve their economic potential, while also tapping into “an integrated network of peers to help them deal with the effects of traumatic life experiences,” Narchoor says.
The center, located in in Anantnag, Kashmir, has helped more than 300 women receive training in the past two years to improve their skills and knowledge in areas such as agriculture and horticulture.
Narchoor says studying human rights as part of her degree “helped me to understand women’s rights from a much broader perspective and helped me to raise these issues, which were never discussed before in Kashmir.”
Such work embodies the vision of many LLM programs that focus on human rights issues, says Siegfried Wiessner, founder and director of the graduate program in intercultural human rights