Today our saying of the day in India was challo challo which is an extremely fitting phrase to describe Delhi and the busyness of the city. The phrase means “lets go!” and go we have gone. Our first few days have been action packed – we learned quickly that getting around Delhi can take hours given the city congestion so we have been lucky enough to have quite a few of our guest speakers come to the lovely Taj hotel we are staying at. This morning we heard from Kiran Bedi, one of the boldest women I have ever heard speak. Kiran was the first women to join the police force in India because she cared so deeply about standing up for justice and because she wanted to prove that women can do anything men can do.
Her commitment to justice was so strong that it prevailed even if it meant going against the usual Indian way of allowing government officials and important people to rise above the law. She was famous for giving the prime minister’s car a ticket and was subsequently outlawed to the worst postings in her job (a jail) which she was able to turn into positives. Her self-confidence, relentless commitment to justice, and bravery in the police force have made her a famous leader in India and advocate for woman’s equality. In today’s session we got to hear stories about her life told by her and ask her questions about her leadership journey that will help us guide our own journeys. We found her confidence entertaining, inspiring and most of all it left us with a lot to think about with respect to how to be a leader.
After hearing from Kiran, we headed to the American school in Delhi that Professor Wadhwa’s daughter attends to participate in the MAD (Make a Difference) program that was established to help the nearby slums gain access to education. The MAD program was founded on the principle that there are three ways people escape poverty: 1.) Access to clean water 2.) Learn English 3.) Access to sanitation. The slums near the school originally developed because the families had been brought in to build the school and once the project was completed they formed slums next to the school. The slums have no access to running water and sanitation, so the school developed an educational program with 8 levels that allows the kids to learn English by attending the school one day and have the American School kids come to their homes on the other day. When we got to the slums we each brought a book for the kids and we spent the hour reading to them, playing games and seeing how they live. The American School MAD program was eye opening and an incredibly rewarding opportunity. I think I speak for all CBS students when I say this was the highlight of our trip so far!
Our schedule has been action packed with full days and evening trips to the local markets. Waking up early tomorrow for some morning Yoga…
Namaste from India!