Triggering Spiritual Revolutions

Features Issue 116 Jun, 2011
Text by Yukta Bajracharya / Photo: ECS Media

Founder - President of Children of the Earth (COE), Dr Nina Meyerhof, through her proactive work is making sure the children of the world have a voice.

Dr. Nina Meyerhof established Children of the Earth (COE) in 1990. COE is a charitable non-governmental organization which has been recognized by the United Nations since 1992 and works with youth and children locally and globally. A believer of activism through spirituality and inviting peace through collective means, Dr. Meyerhof is the change that she wants to see in the world.

Dr. Nina travels from one place to another, planting seeds of peace at various places on the global map, and doing a remarkable job at it too. Founder and President of Children of the Earth, Dr. Nina and her team have been inspiring and uniting young people from all around the world for peace, for a lifetime now. “The youth have to understand that they have the future in their hands and that they have their rights as well as responsibilities,” she says. Defining and spreading the notion of spirituality, she envisions a world where the youth and the people, altogether, work as one towards peace and harmony.

Dr. Nina holds a doctorate in Educational Policy, Research, and Administration from the University of Massachusetts where, she also developed a self-esteem model to be used in schools.  For her work and passion towards young people and building a better tomorrow, Dr. Nina has received many awards: from the Mother Theresa Award and the Citizen’s Department of Peace Award to The International Educators Award for Peace.

“I have worked with young people since I was 27. I believe that only children can speak for themselves. Just like how a white person cannot speak for a black person, adults cannot speak for children. Children have the right to participate and voice their needs,” Dr. Nina emphasizes strongly. Through Children of the Earth (COE), the spiritual as well as the humanitarian needs of youth are being tended to. What COE does can be categorized into two divisions – the Social Action Chapters, through which COE conducts humanitarian projects led by the youth, and Spiritual Youth Hubs – a platform where the youth meet other youth, explores ideas, discover their inner self and spirituality and connect with one another.

Spirituality, here, doesn’t involve religion. Dr. Nina believes that spirituality can be found in the inner self after the layers of differences are peeled away and the basic human character is left. “Everyone is 99.09 per cent same,” she says and opines that it is only a matter of discovering the similarity between people and one’s identity, beyond the body, mind, emotions, culture, race and religion. “Spirituality can be manifested; we try to make it more tangible. It is not an abstract, ‘there in the clouds’ concept,” she adds.

She and her team made a trip to Nepal during late May, this year, and conducted workshops and training in Kathmandu. The team included Development Director of COE, Rev. Patrick McCollum , Karoline Buys, International Program Director for COE, and  Jimmy Lama, a youth leader from Nepal, amongst others.  The COE team had immense faith in the power of youth. “Youth today have to be close to one another. They are powerful and can even topple governments and bring various other changes,” says McCollum while Buys says, “One by one we need to touch the hearts of all the youth. We start by opening doors and giving voices to a few and then we hope to pass it on. It’s like a ripple effect.” Jimmy, after being inspired from one of the COE workshops, is now aiding humanitarian projects in his own village back in Helambu with support from COE. Two workshops were conducted – one was aimed at teachers from various schools while the other, called “Transforming Spirituality into Action” was aimed at youth and brought together young representatives from different parts of the world providing them with a global platform for interaction and expression.

Just like how a white person cannot speak for a black person, adults cannot speak for children.