Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October's Leadership Fellow of The Month!

Sandhya's Story

Sandhya still regrets not completing her formal education. Every time she sees an engineer she is reminded of what she might have been if she had received support.

She showed an ability to rise above her situation even as a school girl. She taught tuition classes, offered stitching services and swept the streets of Sindhi colony to make ends meet. Despite her inability to complete school, she signed up as a Vidya volunteer to guide younger children to a life better than hers.

Sandhya’s first contact with Bhumi was at the Freedom Under Construction event in Rasoolpura. She was inspired by the idea of developing her community and joined Bhumi as a Leadership Fellow.

In the past 2 years, Sandhya has been a part of the Self Help Groups started by Raziya, another Leadership Fellow. She worked with volunteers from CAST to identify and rehabilitate disabled children. She has organised Spoken English and Computer Science classes for the local children.

Currently, she works alongside the Bhumi team in training health workers and conducting the Children’s Parliament.

Community Leadership

Bhumi has identified several residents from Rasoolpura as Leadership Fellows. They are paid a stipend to learn leadership skills at Bhumi and apply them in their community. In the process, each Leadership Fellow builds improves their community, and experiences great personal transformation.

With the support of Bhumi, the Leadership Fellows are managing a thriving transformation centre in Rasoolpura. They have been at the forefront of mobilizing and engaging over 700 members of their community to support their initiatives.

Our Leadership Fellows

Sandhya Rani
Resident of Rasoolpura. Bhumi Leadership Fellow since 2008.

Sandhya’s first contact with Bhumi was at the Freedom Under Construction event in Rasoolpura. She was inspired by the idea of developing her community and joined Bhumi as a Leadership Fellow. To read about Sandhya's work at Bhumi and her story, click here

About Bhumi

Bhumi is a not-for-profit centre established in Hyderabad with the mission to develop leaders in all strata of society. We empower citizens with the attitudes and skills they require to rise above their circumstances and lead their communities towards sustainable development.
Bhumi works in Rasoolpura slum with citizen leaders in 5 domains
  1. Education
  2. Livelihood
  3. Health care
  4. Water, Environment & Sanitation
  5. Governance and Democracy

  • Establish schools and institutions of higher education that develop people’s capacity to understand their environment and act responsibly to shape their future.
  • Offer leadership development platforms for individuals to experience transformation and growth, while creating an improved quality of life for their communities.
  • Bring together ecologies of social entrepreneurs and leaders to collaborate towards large scale sustainable transformation.
  • To create models of community well-being through action research.

Monday, May 03, 2010

DnE 4 Mentor's speak

Here are a few experiences shared by Mentors who participated in Dronacharya & Ekalavya

Nikhitha Rao - Mentor - Kukatpally School
BHUMI / DnE4 is truly one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I cannot express in words what BHUMI means to me ( I mean that its beyond words :) ). I learnt a lot working with BHUMI, learnings that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

I worked as a tutor in the Kukatpally school. It was not at all easy. The kids were not interested, I did not know exactly what and how to teach, the attendance of the students was very low, their english was very weak, they were scared of the language. All these were very discouraging. But still I had to keep going. I genuinely wanted to help the kids, but I was not able to bring a change. It used to kill me from the inside. It was a challenge, one of the most difficult that I ever faced. Then I spoke to my coaches. That too dint help ! I was so pissed off with them because they dint give me a solution that I almost cried out of helplessness. I thought about it a lot and then came up with the idea of teaching the students English right from the scratch and do it in a fun way. Then I realized that my coaches had actually empowered me to solve the problems on my own. I was a leader in my own way !! Though I unfortunately did not get the chance to implement my solution I at least got the confidence to face difficult challenges n come up with apt solutions to those challenges.

Teaching the students made me very patient. Their English was very poor and I had to be patient with them while explaining minute things of the language that we take for granted, thanks to our good education background. 'Losing my cool with them would badly hurt them and their confidence' - I had to keep this in mind and I had to constantly keep reminding myself about it. Eventually, I realized that this applies not only to the children I taught but also to everyone else...my parents, friends etc. So, I started keeping this in mind not only when I was a tutor but everywhere else. The result was a more patient Nikhitha. I dont say that I am saint now and I no more get angry...but yes, I am more patient than before.

Confidence - My confidence levels improved drastically. I was not much of a public speaker before I joined BHUMI. Speaking in front of everybody in the learning cycles helped me gain a lot of confidence. Also, I got the confidence to take decisions, my own decisions. I got the confidence to take up responsibilities.

I also made very good friends at BHUMI. The concept of families worked wonders. Speaking to our family members, sharing our feelings, our deepest secrets was extremely enriching. I would look forward to going to school the entire week. I would literally crave for Sundays.

I would conclude by saying that I am in love with BHUMI. I am so very proud to be a BHUMITE.

Cheers, Nikhitha

K. Krishna Chaitanya - Mentor - Kukatpally School
All the mentors, tutors and coordinators met at our school as usual. After our routine work our coordinators asked us our opinion regarding the way we wanted the closures and instantly most of us told that we would like to close DnE4 (for Kukatpally ZPHS) by celebrating. Interested mentors were asked to take responsibility for organizing this party. I was one amongst them. A team of mentors was formed.
There is a famous quote by Bruce Lee, it goes like this “Knowing is not enough we must apply. Willing is not enough we must do”. Our coordinators wanted us follow what Bruce Lee said. They have taught us leadership during the DnE4. Now they wanted us to implement what we have learnt. We divided the work among ourselves. After considering many options we finally decided to have a roof-top barbeque party. We tried to estimate the total cost for the party. Luckily we found a chef who agreed to give us food at a lower price just because we are a part of BHUMI.

We had to meet everyday during the last 4 days before the party. Everyday we decided when and where to meet (thanks to Graham bell). Those meetings were real fun; we started at 8pm and continued till 11pm. We used to discuss about the updates, plan for the next day, eat, shout, watch IPL and sometimes argue. People around used to stared at us. The organizers and coordinators called the mentors personally to invite them as they thought it is important for every mentor and tutor of kukatpally ZPHS School to attend closures because everyone contributed their share for DnE4 and closures was a place to acknowledge the efforts put in and appreciate people.

Finally the D - day has come. Though the party didn’t start on time, people, who arrived early for the party helped us in arranging things. We started with five - second greeting. While greeting, people told a lot of good things I dint know about me and I felt great about myself. Coordinators gave a message to the mentors. Following it mentors were given titles. The best thing about giving away titles is it was not a one man’s decision. They asked the crowd to nominate 3 mentors for each title and then vote for each nominee. We enjoyed doing this. We had dinner, danced, took pictures.

At the end we discussed what went right and what went wrong. Our coordinators were very happy for the efforts we put in and appreciated for the same. We were given a detailed feedback on the event and also were given suggestions on the areas we needed to improve. I learned the way to plan an event and organize it effectively.
Altogether it was a great experience organizing the party. As Rathin (mentor) mentioned “A Ship is always safe at the shore - but that is NOT what it is built for” Our coordinators made us understand our strengths and made us realize that we are capable doing more than what we are actually doing.

I have been a mentor for DnE3 as well. There is a tremendous improvement in the way DnE happened this year. Unlike DnE3, DnE4 had mentor – mentor interaction. Every Sunday we met, we learnt something new. We had many learning circles this year apart from the workshops.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Inspiring with colors - Earth Day Celebrations

April 22nd, Earth Day, brought many students of Government High School, Rasoolpura an unique opportunity of creatively painting their school walls while learning and communicating important message through it. BHUMI in collaboration with U.S.Consulate General, Hyderabad came forward with a new initiative and an aim to create an awareness of environmental issues to these younger generation,especially on issues related to climate changes. In an event organized by BHUMI on Earth day, around 100 students painted a wall sketched by Mr.Chaitanya Kiran (http://kiranacv.blogspot.com/).The theme being 'Greener earth', students painted and wrote many relevant slogans like ‘Stop Pollution before it kills Us'. The event passed with flying colours in creating awareness among the children about the importance of protecting the environment.

Media Articles:

BHUMI Introduces Children's Parliaments in Hyderabad

Present day challenges like inequalities, poverty, corruption, terrorism, unemployment, lack of basic humanity, disease, casteism, communalism , atrocities against women, children and the socially and economically weak are a direct result of the lack of basic human relationships among people and people’s (at individual level) active participation in governance. To address these challenges starting at the level of Rasulpura, we promote a platform for children where they can cultivate basic human relationships among themselves in their own neighborhood and learn the importance of children’s participation in self-governance through a program called “Children’s Parliament”. By educating, organizing and empowering them, the much needed social change will be achieved.

All the children between 6 to 14 years in a neighborhood form a parliament, irrespective of their caste, community, race, social and economical status or their educational status. Every child in the particular neighborhood is an equal member of the said Parliament.

While undergoing a diverse range of trainings they elect various ministers among themselves, like their prime minister, home, finance, education, health ministers etc etc through a consensus and objection less election process. Each member is responsible for something. These parliaments will be networked by representation at village, panchayat, block, district, state and national levels. The children also undergo trainings in the actual functioning of the govt., its various departments, schemes available etc etc.

Slowly, being guided by mentors from the community and from BHUMI, they start convening in formal parliamentary meetings once a week and discuss any matters or problems from their own community put forward by each minister and if need be, they chart out action plans, methods and time frame for its implementation on ground. Mind you this is real work on ground not a classroom role play.

In a first of its kind initiative in the city, Children’s Parliament - Hyderabad chapter was launched by BHUMI on Children’s Day 2009 with one batch of 18 children belonging to the Pochamma temple basti in Rasoolpura, Hyderabad. The parliament conducted a swearing in ceremony of the ministers. The event was attended by local politicians and Mr. Joseph Rathnam, the Founder of the Children’s Parliament Movement.

BHUMI has structured a year-long training program for the first batch of CP to educate and support them in their roles and give them the opportunity to groom themselves into responsible human beings and future leaders. The children are presently undergoing training on life skills and functional aspects of Children’s Parliament (CP).

A mentor belonging to the same community is attached to the parliament who supervises and facilitates the batch. This mentor is also being groomed to become a life skills trainer for young children and an expert on CP.

Be hooked on for more on Children’s Parliament in the later editions!

Related News stories:
Hear the young voices of change - The Hindu - 29-09-2009

Moving towards self-reliance – Investing In BHUMI

Bhumi stands for the value of sustainability. We promote it in our work at communities as well as within the organisation. It is with this intention that we are converting DnE 5 into a paid program. But this transition from an organisation seeking external funding to a self reliant one will take a while to happen. In this journey of ours, a couple of corporates have stood by us consistently, VSoft and Sonata Software and names that are note worthy.

The process of fund raising at BHUMI is driven by the community leadership fellows. Nayeem, Sandhya and Raziya Apa go to corporates who may be interested in funding us and talk to the HR and employees about the work they do. How each of their lives has changed since they have started dedicating their life to community upliftment work in their own communities and what all they are learning at Bhumi as a leadership platform. They talk about the projects they are running in the slum and how these are close to their hearts.

For example, Sandhya, a leadership fellow at BHUMI, who is a pass out from the government school of Rasulpura always dreamt that the students from the school could be more confident and vocal about their rights as students and as children. Her experience of her childhood was that, children were ok with any nonsense dolled out to them, like a hindi teacher teaching physics or sitting in the hot blazing sun in the afternoon class without a roof. She deeply connected with the Children’s Parliament (CP) program proposed by Mr Joseph Ratnam, the founder of CP in Tamil Nadu at Rasulpura, which enables children to learn their rights and responsibilities. Now she is one of the main persons running this program for the children of Rasulpura and she passionately talks about its funding needs to corporates.

In this way corporates are able to connect with exactly where their money is being invested and what transformations it will bring about.

If you guys have any more corporate leads. Please let us know!

We are available at team@bhumi.in

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Dasanna is a BHUMI mentor at Vijaynagar Colony Govt. School

'DnE 4' - Workshops this year

The Dronacharya Ekalavya Tutoring Mentoring Program at BHUMI, over the last one and half years has evolved into a structured experiential leadership learning program. Involved in community upliftment work of the program aimed at tutoring and mentoring government school children, fellows on leadership learning journeys (mentors, tutors and coaches) go through a wide range of challenging experiences. Moving between working with the children at schools to workshops where challenges and experiences are explored to enable concrete learning, fellows acquire strength of character, skills and competence in Problem Solving, Transformational Communication and Creative Entrepreneurship.

DnE 4, which concludes in May this year is the first time when the workshops have become an integral part of the learning journey. Since last year these workshops were being facilitated by a group of experienced trainers from across India. Trainers like Kiran, Reah, Siddharth, Shantan, Vikram, Vaishnavi, Vinita have enabled deep leanings and paradigm shifts for the DnE fellows.

An interesting development in the program this year has been the training of some of the core DnE team members in training and facilitation. Reah and Siddharth of ‘Paradigms Unlimited’ have enabled Pallavi Rao, Firoze Akram, Kadambini, Mahesh and Madhav, all BHUMI DnE fellows to learn concepts and tools in ‘Problem Solving and Transformational Communication’ and enable facilitation of the same for other coaches, mentors and tutors.

They have also subsequently conducted two successful workshops in the last two months.

Here is a huge CONGRATULATIONS, welcoming the birth of in-house trainers for Bhumi !!!

Whats BHUMI all about?

We all tell stories about our lives don’t we? You know, how we got excited about doing something, like rock climbing, or gardening or learning pottery, or learning to play the flute or reading literature or something else that inspires you, and how doing that thing brought you amazing joy?

Well! BHUMI also has a similar story. Back in 2005 a group of young people got inspired to change the world around them into a better place. The journey started with adopting a government school in a slum in Hyderabad and committing to making education more interesting for its children. And needless to say we have been having a ball doing what inspires us! A lot more people have joined this journey and others have moved on to pursue other things that have touched and inspired them. Over the last four years Bhumi has been through a very interesting journey of discovering itself and concretising its purpose into a vision, plans, projects and actions. We have come so much closer to defining what we want to do as a professional organisation and how we want to do it. We are going to be using this space in the first few editions to re-introduce you to Bhumi. Its vision, mission, values, its leadership development model, bhumiisms (meanings to words we use at Bhumi, the way we use them), our developmental initiatives and our take on several situations in the world around us.

BHUMI is a centre for leadership excellence. We believe competent leadership across all spectrums of society is critical to achieving inclusive and sustainable development.

The challenges facing humanity require solutions that match complexity and intricacy of the problems. Bhumi supports individuals who seek to craft and execute solutions across five domains viz., 1.Education, 2.Livelihoods, 3.Health care, 4.Water, Environment & Sanitation, 5.Governance and Democracy. These solutions embody multi-stakeholder collaborations which involve the communities they are crafted for.

More about our work in the next edition!