Amal Aagosh Youth Leadership Training Program
Since inception, at Amal Aagosh we endorsed the notion that every youth has innate leadership qualities be they from urban or rural areas. Adopting three villages near Jaipur we were tempted to test our belief and show case it. We decided to train the youths to peep into their inner selves and then decide their course of action. We were concerned to impart training to the youths in a phased manner to the extent that they disassociate themselves from the queue of job seekers and move independently with the aptitude to rewrite their own destinies.
We felt that the desired transformation was not possible within a short period or through one workshop or training program. We felt that usually any workshop starts with great enthusiasm and later the pace, speed and energy starts diminishing and is replaced by apathy. It is also experienced that sometimes the faculties in its effort to impose their thoughts and closely held beliefs use jargon, quotes and debatable doctrines. They also don’t want to disassociate themselves from their age old beliefs.
Keeping these experiences in our mind we designed a Youth Leadership Training Program in four steps, to be conducted within a span of fifteen months. These four workshops are designed as a series of rigorous, residential, interactive and practical programs which will assist to reconstitute the self-confidence of the participants with techniques of immersion of Stress and Trauma Relief, Notion of Free Will, Meditation and Yoga, Breathing for Energy and Relaxation, Communication skills, and prepare their Sub Conscious to work for them.
These courses are designed to extend the academic and realistic experience of the participants with the use the modern tools like Community linkages through PRA exercises, rural planning & communication etc. Through these four courses Amal Aagosh will facilitate the participants to focus on leadership, teamwork and communication skills with an emphasis on service to their communities.
First Course: Ullas the jollity
The first course Ullas was designed as merriment through union of different youths from different areas, culture and thinking. Rajasthan is famous for its male ascendancy. When we first unleashed the idea of four day long residential course for both boys and girls before some of the prominent local residents – thank god they all survived in spite of getting the shock of their life, as they never heard about this out of the world thought!
Now we can boast about our success because we created history by registering Twenty six participants with equal number of boys and girls. How did we succeed? Simple........ we got three girls from a single family with their parents as guardians for the whole group. Another family of four was a couple with other two girls from the family. Needless to say that we rejected eleven candidates as they didn’t have any conflagration within them.
This course was for normal persons with fortitude and zeal to be extraordinary. All the participants were eager to do a little bit more than the ordinary person. Being extraordinary is an internal challenge and our participants were ready to defy themselves to be an extraordinary individual.
Most of the girls were ecstatic and eager with the idea of stepping out of their houses but at the same time they were nervous with imaginary problems. When they reached ILD they were worried and as per them, given a chance to go back most of them would have gone back. Some thought how they are going to spend four days, some thought they took an erroneous decision and some decided to see the end of it. Boys were also disturbed with the cleanliness and serenity of the area and were also surprised with the ongoing process of registration.
Another problem popped up which they never imagined before coming to ILD. All the members were allotted rooms on sharing basis, that too with unknown members. Even the sisters, friends or the people from the same locality were resolutely separated. It was a great psychological set back for them. Some also fought amongst themselves inside the rooms for petty matters. Living for next four days with unknown and sharing the same bed and bathroom was upsetting them. Many were worried with the imaginary consequences.
When they assembled inside the main hall for the briefing session they were inflexible. Their body language revealed that they were distressed and shaky. Some of the boys were shy and could not see left and right because of the presence of the girls. Many of them were looking at the floor. Few had never talked to unknown girls before. This they revealed in reveling their problems in the Bowl of Problems. We kept two bowls outside the hall one for the Questions and the other for the problems.
We sensed the situation and immediately ordered everyone to stand up and introduce themselves with at least ten unknowns with the first utterance Brother/Sister and then rest of the things. This brought some laughter in their faces but they were standing in groups. Barring few others were not moving from their places. They were given a dose of harsh expressions. We said that if they are so rigid what they are going to do in the next four days. If the boys can’t address their sisters or the girls can’t talk to their brothers then what is the use of their coming here.
Once again they were directed to repeat the act, but this time all spread inside the room. Jamuna Devi the lady guardian played a significant role in this process. This time it became an immediate success. Now the laughter was in the air and every one was talking more than expected. Hesitation vanished into thin air and was replaced by confidence, love and affection. We noticed that these participants talked more with their room mates.
The participants were now briefed dos and don’ts during the course. We made it clear that we will stick to every minute of the program. We then divided the participants into four groups namely Ashok, Kabir, Gandhi and Buddha through lottery. We asked all the four groups to select their leader within five minutes. We got four leaders. We decided the task of the groups to be performed from the next moment till the next four days. The tasks were different like cleaning the room, organizing the linen, making a row of shoes, distributing the food, checking the plates and cleaning the tables and left over’s to be done on rotation basis and also to be in time without any excuse. The first days schedule was made in presence of the course director. Rest of the days was on the group leaders.
It was also explained that every one will have to report by five thirty in the morning after taking bath. No one will be called from their room. Exactly at 5.58 a.m. the yoga music will be on. Everyone will sit in Padmasana with closed eyes in this period. It was also briefed that they got an opportunity to come to ILD for the workshop and they should now prove their worth. Everyone disbursed for supper and later for their rooms. Needless to say that most of them experienced insomnia because of the new atmosphere, new room partner, anxiety for forthcoming days, time schedule and fear of failure to match with the expectation were the key factors.
To our surprise more than seventy percent participants reached the auditorium twenty minutes before the scheduled time. Twenty two percent were well within time and five percent were almost on dot and three percent were late by two to three minutes, but mentioned correct time in the register due to fear. Their faces were filled with shame. They had to gulp a series of sentences about fairness, boldness and always ready to confess the truth, be it anything. In the next twenty one sessions they were very much within the time. Only on third day Ajay didn’t turn-up during the Yoga session. When enquired it was found that he has some muscle sprain. Rekhaji called him in the yoga room and gave some physio therapy and he was perfect for rest of the days.
The participants had never experienced yoga or pranayam. Many never heard about it. But after the rigorous two hours session all the faces were lit up with satisfaction and contentment.
The breakfast like the entire food designed for the participants was simple. It was planned to help the participants to endure the tough physical & mental workout. Detoxification process was also on to clean the body system.
At sharp nine the traditional ceremony of lighting the lamp took place in a different pattern in the presence of Dr.Raju Sharma, when the junior to senior members of the participants lit the lamp.
Then the course began with the blessings of Dr. Raju Sharma. He explained the reasons for conducting the course. His sense of humor and easy way of explaining the difficult notions impressed everyone. Tushar Roy taught the science and art of communication with demonstrations. In the evening in the session Take it from me Dr. Raju Sharma replied the questions of the participants taking them out from the Question Bin, kept outside the hall. Based on the subject matter of the average questions he spoke at length on the subject. He had to reply some funny questions also.
In the evening after gulping the soup participants enjoyed the serenity of ILD in the nature walk. In the night the participants enjoyed the Bonfire.
Today the participants were very relaxed and learned Sudarshan Kriya under Rekhaji. After breakfast they moved to do sewa and planted almost 50 trees. They were thrilled and also mentioned it in their report. After the session of Tushar Roy the participants were taught lessons on morality by eminent social worker Krishna Veer Singh Drone.
After lunch Mr. Prabhat Sinha of Sight Savers International took the class and taught Convergence (Abhisaran). It was a wonderful experience full of laughter and serious thought processes.
Now the participants were made to talk full twenty minutes non stop amongst each other. Then they were suggested to dance with wide graphs and then suddenly they were recommended to sit down with closed eyes to enjoy the Dhyan and later all were advised to maintain silence till next hint. They were suggested to lead a normal working condition with eagerness and attention to feel the resonance of silence.
In the night the participants were taken into deep trance through buddha dhyan process.
The participant’s were quite but relaxed and observing silence. They practiced Sudarshan Kriya under Rekhaji. After breakfast they moved to do sewa and girls started making rangoli while the boys prepared Diyas or the earthen pots for lighting in the evening.
Later in the auditorium the paricipants took oath to serve the society and to educate at least ten illiterates in their whole life. They also wrote their future plans to serve and handed it over to Amal Aagosh. Dr. Raju Sharma then explained the importance of silence in human life. He felt that silence gives a chance to the person to introspect and plan for future. He encouraged the participants to narrate their experience of silence and dramatic results were there.
Prabhat Sinha sensitized the participants on the abilities of persons with disabilities. He showed one film and later taught the basics of brail to the participants.
Later eminent expert on Participatory Rural Appraisal Subir Kumar Pradhan started his course with Ice breaking then deriving ‘objectives’ of the sessions from expectations of each participants he aligned the ‘sessions ’ as per choice of participants through participatory group exercises and consensus building . He held a mock show inside the ILD campus with four groups.
The exclusive musical evening was organized on this day with 25,000 watt of sound and matching enchanting lights with psychedelic effects . Eminent singer Gautam Dabir joined coming all the way from Baroda. He was backed with the local chorus and instrumentalists. Nearly two hundred guests from all walks of life from Jaipur also joined. The students of LN Mittal College of engineering were also there.
The entire evening was colorful with tiny lights, diyas, floral designs, bon fire and above all happiness spread all over, made the ambience blissful. It was an edge of the seat excitement for all present there. When the Garba session started our participants became the part of the dancing crowd forgetting their own identity. The mission was complete, we achieved what we wanted through this gala musical evening. The program was followed by dinner.
The silver lining of this program can be appreciated with the fact that this entire program was nicely handled by the participants divided into four groups. Be it receiving the guests, welcoming them with the traditional rituals, escorting them to the venue, making them sit comfortably, Looking after the seating arrangements, Escorting the old men & women to the wash room, taking care of the earthen lamps and continuously filling them with oil, escorting the guests for the dinner and helping them to select the dishes out of the sumptuous food are to mention a few. Every guest was touched. Many promised to come again. Few showed their keen interest to be a part of Amal Aagosh while others promised their unconditional support whenever required.
This was the last day for the participant’s. After early breakfast the participants divided in two groups were taken to two different villages’ for PRA exercise. We could feel the confidence in their body language and behaviors. Each one of them was talking to the villagers with motivation.
Coming back at ILD they, after a quick lunch, briefed Mr. Pradhan about their PRA exercise and lessons learnt. Then came the moment which the participants throughout wished to avoid. It was the time to depart. Most of the participant’s throat was chocked. Dr. Raju Sharma handled the situation with his expert views. He added that these 26 changed agents will have to bring changes in their respective areas. He gave badges of Amal Aagosh to all the participants and said that this is acknowledgment of the Amal Aagosh and is also a permit to enter ILD campus as a member any time. He felt that everyone will do his best to make a dent in the society.
Dr. Sharma added that every participant will have to write his experience within the next ten days so that Amal Aagosh can also learn. Needless to say that the participants departed with heavy heart after all it was a life time experience for them, which will remain with them in the days to come.
This course enhanced the participant’s ability to live a rewarding, contented and functional life. It broke all the boundaries of what they thought they are proficient at. It escalated their individual authority, liveliness and focal point, as well as leadership, teamwork and communication skills.
Going through the participant’s immediate feed back and experience at a later stage, we derived the following:
1. They all loved discipline and punctuality of the course.
2. They enjoyed the strict timing.
3. They all learned to wake up early and be ready for the course.
4. They all appreciated the Yoga Teacher.
5. They all liked the simplicity of Dr. Raju Sharma and his sense of humor.
6. They experienced an out of the world pleasure during the Ullas night.
7. They admired all the teachers for their affection to teach everything they know.
8. They felt that they can change their lives with the help of Amal Aagosh.
9. Many of them became courageous enough to confess the truth.
10. They were delighted in planting the saplings and visualized many things from the act.
11. They were touched with the Serve & Learn process.
12. They were happy that a lot of responsibility was given to them on the Ullas Nite.
13. They were confident that they will now be able to design their own strategy planning and execution.
1. Some Girls like Pinki Maurya (First) who were shy and always afraid of coming out of their houses are now confident enough to go anywhere. Like Pinki did fairly well and felt the change when she went to teach in a school as a part of her B. Ed course. She claimed that her fear and hesitation vanished into thin air after the course.
2. Anita Sain who always looked suppressed, timid and shy was praised by her Principal as the best girl in the college in public conversation.
3. Pinki Maurya (Second) won a few prizes in different competitions.
4. Krishna alias Bermutia showed a significant transformation. She is a perfect blend of modern girl following all the age old customs. She gets up early and the whole day keeps on working. She is an active worker of the Rose water project and plucks roses early in the morning each day.
5. Ajay was a student of BBA (Government School). After the course he felt that he should help his father who in spite of acute hardship is providing him the fees. Ajay started working as a trainee in the call center of Idea. He walks almost fifteen kilometer each day to go to college and then to the call center and comes back around mid night walking on foot. His father insists that he might face some problem coming back so late and why he is working while Ajay is determined to share in the family’s financial burden.
6. Like wise many participants are changed, but one example will be sufficient to decide the magnitude. The participants from Kharwalon ki Dhyani felt that their village is deprived of their rights. Their children are not getting their due. One day they went to the nearest Aanganbari center and asked for food for the children. They were turned away. They asked certain questions under RTI. They were not afraid during the enquiry. Now they are on the way to get Aanganwadi for the kharwalon ki dhani.
7. The challenge will be to learn how to discover their inner self and get transformed into whatthey wish to be. Tapping their inner wisdom where they become a model of internal strength, happiness and compassionate for the world. All this will be nurtured by a deep association with a loving and compliant team who dedicate themselves to the challenging and ultimately gratifying work of personal augmentation and service