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American who lost family shows how to be ‘victors over terrorism’

Scherr (55) lost her husband Alan and 13-year-old daughter Naomi in the attack on the Trident-Oberoi hotels in Nariman Point.

Written by Kavitha Iyer | Mumbai |
November 18, 2011 1:38:10 am

Kia Scherr has not planned her itinerary for November 26,but the American who lost her husband and daughter during the 26/11 attacks three years ago is certain she’ll be working at one of her multiple Mumbai projects — talking to less privileged children about responding with compassion to acts of violence,planning a spiritual project in Mumbai’s slums with college students or completing the paperwork to get her non-profit organisation registered.

Scherr (55) lost her husband Alan and 13-year-old daughter Naomi in the attack on the Trident-Oberoi hotels in Nariman Point.

They were among a group of Americans in Mumbai for a global meditation meet organised by US-based Synchronicity Foundation,a spiritual organisation that promotes meditation.

The tragedy led Scherr to launch One Life Alliance along with Master Charles Cannon,the founder of Synchronicity and,as the third anniversary approaches,several initiatives are taking concrete shape.

“St Andrew’s College has selected eight student leaders to take the One Life Alliance pledge,” she says,referring to a 30-day self-improvement programme that encourages people to slow down,react with compassion,speak the truth,and more.

“These students will then initiate a project working with slum children,helping them understand spiritualism and clearing misconceptions about Islam,” she says.

Scherr,in Mumbai since September to build the Indian arm of the Trust,is also working closely with the Taj Public Service Welfare Trust and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS),meeting college directors,corporates and others,seeking support for her idea — changing the world by “responding with compassion to acts of terror,thus becoming victors over terrorism,not victims”.

She has also met Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik and proposed a programme with cops. “In the backdrop of violence by policemen in various cities,I want the Mumbai Police to be the first to take the pledge to react differently,” she says.

Scherr,who follows news reports about Ajmal Kasab,“though not obsessively”,also says she hopes the trial in Pakistan will be a chance for the two countries to build a bridge to work together towards justice.

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