Around the world people observe the first weekend in October as Gandhi Day of Service, coinciding with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, 2 October. His example inspires us to “be the change we want to see in the world.”
Across India AID finds ways every day to translate vision to action. Building leadership within the communities and encouraging every individual to recognize the power within themselves is not only an important step towards effecting social change, but it is a beautiful process in and of itself.
To take just one example, in the coastal town of Diu, in Gujarat, a group of teenage girls in 10th -12th standard attended a life skills workshop focussed on effective communication, arranged by Kadam Educational Initiative. After examining different modes including verbal, non-verbal, written, graphic, electronic and mass communication, they engaged in practical exercises that revealed ways that a message can get distorted or falsified. They discussed the role of social media in spreading misinformation and biased outlook towards other communities.
Along with learning to be critical consumers, the girls, who came from underprivileged backgrounds and displaced communities, also looked inwards and found that anxiety often got in the way of their own confidence to speak up. In the mutually supportive and fun atmosphere of the workshop, many girls experimented in public speaking during this session and overcame their nervousness and fear. With practice they hope to carry this confidence beyond the workshop and into their daily lives in the world at large.
In rural districts and urban pockets throughout India, grassroots partners of AID are working hard today and every day. Volunteers in chapters in the United States, Canada and UK stay in touch with partners to hear first hand and visit the communities to understand what is working well and what hurdles people face.
It is easy to feel lost in today’s world but we discover time and again the truth of Gandhiji’s observation that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.