Lead for Change - India
After its commencement earlier this year in January, another Lead for Change Youth Workshop was held at Asia Plateau, the Initiatives of Change (IofC) centre in India, from 1- 5 May. Mayur Shah reports:
Spread over five days, the workshop saw tremendous output in terms of personal decisions of change, collective steps to bring positive change, plus deep friendships being forged. Three friends from IofC Indonesia joined the workshop, who shared that it was a special experience and important learning time for them. About 15 participants came from a rural background and could speak only Marathi. Special attention was given to them, with translation available and plenty of encouragement to participate. By the end of the workshop, they opened up and shared some deep thoughts and also expressed that this workshop had given them the courage and confidence to follow their inner self and stand up and speak for themselves. Many said that the idea of listening to the inner voice in a time of silence was the biggest learning they had from this time, apart from the power of gratitude and forgiveness to mend relationships and move on. Almost everyone wrote letters to mend/enrich relationships with various people in their lives.
A participant called her cousin with whom she had not spoken for months and resolved certain issues. A pledge to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle plastic was taken by all. A decision to conduct weekly multi-faith prayer meetings in Pune was taken, with the first meeting scheduled on Sunday, 15 May at Japanese Garden in Pune. Many shared that this was one of its kind, a life changing experience for them. A brother-sister duo had come and the brother, just before leaving, broke in to tears and expressed his gratitude for he said he had not seen his sister so happy and smiling in years. Another young man who had been suffering from depression for a long time, stood up in the concluding session and said - 'I smiled again' as his major take away from this time. Quite a few shared that they would be more expressive of their love and gratitude towards their parents. Many shared that the workshop had given them a sense of purpose and meaning in life. They are all now connected over social media. Some of the euphoria will fizzle out for sure, but one can clearly see some bright sparks which will go a long way in bringing about change for the better and some may contribute to the work of IofC in future.
Asia Plateau and Initiatives of Change are a gift to mankind. Giving hope to the hopeless, love to the broken, healing to the hurt, courage to the leaders, strength to the weak, creating a positive impact. Inspiring individuals to be the change and become change-makers to make their lives, surroundings, nation and the world a better place for all.