As we head into this new year, I am delighted to share with you some of the things the 'Project Help India' team has been doing in Kotdwara over these first few weeks in January. Our mission is to help the poor, and I write today to encourage our supporters in knowing that your donation is directly helping the poorest of the poor.
Aavej is twelve years old. He lives in a slum area in the middle of Kotdwara. He belongs to a muslim family. His father Mr. Abdul Gaffar is a tailor and he earns about 1500 to 2000 rupees per month, which is just $30-40 Australian dollars, and way below what’s needed for him to being provide for his family's basic needs. Aavej’s mother Mrs Ruksana, is a house wife. Aavej goes to a government school which provides less than a satisfactory education.
Aavej takes his study seriously which is why he also attends our City Slum Centre every afternoon. He also enjoys the healthy meal he receives every day at our centre, which gives him far more than he would ever eat at home.
Aavej has high ambitions for his life and we have been delighted to support him in achieving his goals. His life last year however, was completely turned upside when his elder sister committed suicide. Aavej was very close to her and he was grief stricken and in a state of depression for many months. He withdrew from his friends and lost his appetite. Thankfully through our City Centre, Aavej received some counselling. As well as being kept busy with his learning he has also had the opportunity to participate in different activities and sports. He danced at our functions, and importantly he socialised and played with his friends and classmates. Through all of this he is now well and is overcoming his depression. Aavej is now a happy kid again. He is studying and eating well. He also once again started talking to others and he is now preparing for his annual exams with renewed determination and positivity.
Aavej’s mother is also getting help from our Project Help Team. She is now more open to talk about the challenges she is facing. She is getting some parenting help for supporting Aavej, and she is becoming more confident to leave the house (in her community, Muslim women are not encouraged to leave the house), and to talk with other women.
Kindness, compassion, hope and love are at the heart of this Aavej’s story which is just one of so many wonderful things that are happening at ‘Project Help’ with 270 children attending our 7 centres each week.
The weather is also going crazy in India!
Our work over the past few weeks as also extended into the local community reaching out to many impacted by some crazy winter weather. It has been freezing in Kotdwara and huge unseasonal rainstorms have also hit the area. ‘Project Help’ has been delivering blankets to street people and the kids in our centres have also been seeking up small chai tables, giving out hot tea to those who need who be warmed up. We are thankful for our Directors and staff team who have responded to the needs that they see around them. Our actions are both challenging and changing the way people in the community respond to the needs of others, by providing a model of compassion, care and kindness. It’s incredibly powerful when we see people who have nothing, give and make sacrifices to help others who are in desperate need.
Be part of our story in 2020
Join me in making kindness, compassion, hope and love our key drivers for all we do in 2020. It’s all about being part of a community that authentically cares for one another. We are seeing this in Australia at the moment, as we rally around the many people who have been devastated by the fires.
So if you’re still reflecting on how you would like 2020 to look for you, can I ask you to consider joining the ‘Project Help India’ story. Your regular donation will be used by us to help the poor and, as I hope you have seen, we are making a difference in such a powerful way.
'Project Help India' is hoping that 10 people who read this blog will commit to making a $40 a month (= $10 a week) donation across 2020. The combined donations of 10 people will pay approximately the annual salary of Aavej’s teacher, the cook and meals for all 40 kids at our City Slum Centre. This small amount makes big things possible. Please let me know of you would be able to do this, so that we can set up regular payments.
With love and thanks.
Lead alongside people
Lead from the middle within your school and sphere of control
Lead outwards across other schools, and into your community
Lead upwards by influencing policy and strategy at a national and/or global level.
The ethical leader will stand out in the crowd for all the right reasons
What are some of the dispositions of ethical leadership?
Alongside this, the ethical leader will hold onto these seven virtues
Don’t underestimate how much your leadership is modelled to others. All of us, have people who are watching what we do, and are making judgements and measuring us on how our words and actions align.
Flex your ethical muscle. What is the right thing to do?
You don’t have to be a saint to be a hero. Just chose to do the right thing.
As a leader we should also be prioritising the development of self-awareness. It’s good to check in with yourself when you are tired and stressed, how do I behave?
4 ethical behaviour tests
1. The Sleeping Test – if I do this, can I sleep at night?
2. The Newspaper Test – if I do this, would it be published in the paper?
3. The Mirror Test – if I do this, would I feel comfortable looking at myself in the mirror?
4. The Teenager Test – if I do this, would I mind my children knowing?
(credit to Marc Le Menestral)
Many thanks to Peter Kent for his inspiring words and thoughts on this topic
(Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education, UK)
In 2019, I spent some time raising money for The Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation (POWHF). Actually, the true inspiration came from my incredible school community who were so generous in their support, encouragement and donations for our local hospital. The students at my school were so enthusiastic as they worked towards achieving their personal health and wellbeing goals. I'm so proud of them! Claremont College, all up raised over $28000 for the POWHF. Amazing hey! Together, all of my teammates on this TV show, raised $150 000 ... it's amazing what we can achieve together when we set about helping others.
Here's the episode that I was in ...it was an incredible adventure and an experience of a lifetime. Not sure about the "all-stars" bit though!