Jai Bhim International 2017 VISION

Overview: JBI has been working closely with the Jai Bhim Kerala team since 2007. Our collaboration started at a Buddhist youth retreat in Nagpur, where Dayamudra was leading afternoon Communicative English sessions and Arun was completing his Social Work training at Nagaloka Training Institute. JBI began as a scholarship fund to bring students from the north and south of India to Nagpur. We were registered in The U.S. as a 501c-3 non-profit organization in 2008. At the request of our scholarship students, we brought our projects directly into our their communities in south India, where we have been based and serving Dalit students, their families, and their communities since 2009.

Dayamudra and Arun started leading their own projects in Kerala in 2009. We have been hosting an annual Communicative English Retreat every December since then, and our local Kerala team led pop-up English workshops in villages across Kerala in the other 11 months, connecting with families and building our community of local supporters. From 2009-2015 JBI also supported 50 students living at Sakya Hostels in Tamil Nadu.

In 2013, we launched our own alternative learning community, Lokuttara Leadership Academy, in a rented building in the town center of Mavelikara, Kerala. In this space we have conducted community English and Computer classes, public programs, Arts events, and our own Residential Communicative English program for at-risk boys from across Kerala. Our own curriculum is student-centered and focuses on students finding their own voices by improving their confidence in public speaking, interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, stress management and individual forms of creative expression. Our approach to learning and teaching is Humane Education, rooted in respect and compassion. Our Academy team consists of our Director, his Assistant, an Office Manager an English Teacher, and a Boy’s Warden. Two of our former students have recently joined the team as Assistant Warden and Assistant Office Manager.

In 2014, Lokuttara received a donation of land in the village area of Mavelikara, and in 2015 a team of local volunteers from our community of supporters designed and constructed a hostel for the boys of our Residential Program.

In 2016, we hosted our annual Communicative English Retreat at this hostel, and on New Year’s Day 2017, we hosted a Community Program for 500 local supporters, where we awarded our first-annual Dr. Ambedkar Student Excellence Scholarships to the highest-performing students in the village, selected by local teachers and the village Panchyait.

Our goals for 2017 are to continue our classes, workshops and public programs at the Academy and to also offer new community programs.

Our biggest goal for 2017 is to launch a Residential Program for Girls, with a pilot project for 5 girl students in a rented house, overseen by a Girls’ Warden.

In 2008, JBI’s income was $1,935. In 2015, JBI’s income was $41,576. All income is from individual, family, and matching workplace contributions, plus one $1,000 grant in 2013 from The Pollination Project. We value keeping our team small so that there is integrity in our work and so that we are meeting the very real needs of our students and their families, with low administrative overhead. We have a global team of volunteers and supporters who encourage and participate in our projects.

Our goal for 2017 is to increase our annual income to $50,000. Our 5-year goal is for $1000,000 annual income, by 2022.

Our long-term goal for the Academy is to be a Training Center for smaller start-up educational projects across Kerala.

Lokuttara Leadership Academy will become a Social Change Destination.

2017: One-Year Goals

In the year ahead, Lokuttara will:

1. Host our existing academic and community programs, including a new Reading Marathon for local youth during school breaks.

2. Lead our Residential Program for Boys in our own hostel. Our 4th Batch of Residential Boy Students will complete their program and we will inaugurate our 5th Batch.

3. Launch a new Residential Program for Girls in a rented hostel building, with a local woman as Girls’ Warden.

4. Match our India-based team with online U.S.-based mentors to increase their English proficiency, their teaching capacity, and their organizational leadership skills.

5. Collaborate with U.S.-based educators on our evolving curriculum, which integrates Communicative English proficiency, Computer Literacy for academic and workplace-readiness, and personal growth through Master Student activities and non-competitive games.

6. Collaborate with local agriculturalists on planting a vegetable and herb garden at our Boys’ Hostel, where the students will grow their own food and use the garden as Living Classroom to study Life Sciences, inspired by the work of Alice Waters in Berkeley.

7. Continue to offer our Public Wellness Clinics and Counseling Sessions for the families of our students. We will also launch a new Recovery Program to begin a healing process for addictions in our community.

8. Encourage the development of mind training, emotional intelligence, and personal responsibility through daily mediation and cooperative hostel living.

9. Offer new programs for local women for developing 21st century workplace-readiness skills.

10. Host Community Arts events. These will include quarterly Classical Kerala Music, Classical Kerala Dance and Contemporary Poetry performances. And we will launch a new Film Club, screening films with a positive social message, followed by led group discussions.

2017 to 2022: 5-Year Goals

Lokuttara Leadership Academy will continue developing and offering the programs above. In addition, we will:

1. Build a new hostel to host our Residential Girls’ Program.

2. Construct an outdoor “Palapa”-style structure at the Boys’ Hostel, where we will host community meetings, Arts events and public programs.

3. Create an expanded Library of study materials and social change resources, as well as books, magazines and newspapers.

4. Support our India-based team at Lokuttara to participate in conferences in Kerala, in India and abroad, to attend, present and network with other social change organizations.

4. Develop a Training Curriculum, based on our student-centered approach to Humane Education and Social Change, for our Lokuttara alumnae to launch their own start-up educational programs in their own villages, as Community Educators.

5. Start training a small group of our alumnae as Community Educators in a connected network, to launch their own start-up educational programs in their own villages, with the support of Curriculum, Start-Up Guidelines and Best Practice Trainings.

6. Invest in our alumnae as Community Educators with start-up costs, scholarships, mentorship and site visits. Initially these local programs will be offered for children and will expand to include youth and local parents. Children and Youth classes will be mixed gender groupings to promote gender equality, mutual respect and self-confidence.

7. Host Quarterly Meet-Ups for our Community Educators to present their successes and challenges, report progress, request assistance and support one another in a Grassroots Leadership Network.

8. Host other small educational teams from other regions for trainings, workshops and retreats to study our unique approach to student-centered learning.

9. Host an Annual Colloquium for Community Educators from other organizations to support and inspire one another. The training will be participant-led, inspired by the Highlander Center, where Dr. Martin Luther King and Mrs. Rosa Parks received their early Social Change Training.

10. Host our annual Communicative English Retreat for our Community Educators and their students, as well as an intensive retreat exclusively for the Community Educators.

2017-2027: 10-Year Goals

Lokuttara Leadership Academy will continue developing and offering the programs above. In addition, we will:

1. Create a “Leadership Pipeline” of students to become Community Educators in our projects.

2. Launch at least one branch of our educational programs in each of the 14 states in Kerala.

3. Operate as a vibrant Training Center for Community Educators, students, their parents, educators and community members.

4. Host individual and teams of artists across disciplines to develop their work and perform for the community.

5. Expand our garden as a Living Classroom curriculum to encourage more youth-led Environmental initiatives.

6. Develop partnerships to support women’s empowerment through work-place readiness trainings and cooperative income-generating initiatives.

7. Support community wellness through partnerships that address addiction, promote recovery, offer individual family counseling, and encourage personal physical fitness and emotional resilience.

8. Partner with local educators and community leaders on inclusive student-centered learning.

9. Host Social Change and Community Education Forums for educators from across India.

10. Collaborate with international allies on new trainings and mentoring partnerships.

Jai Bhim International’s Approach to Communicative English Learning

Communicative English is:

based on real language, as used day-to-day

curious about how language functions

rich in useful vocabulary

expressive, active, and fun

We practice English together:

to connect with others

to communicate in real situations

to talk about our own experiences

to express our emotions

to learn from one another

A Communicative English Teacher:

is also a learner

is curious, imaginative, and flexible

is culturally-aware and culturally-sensitive

expresses cross-cultural understanding

has faith in students' capacity to learn

designs lessons according to students' needs and interests

guides learning, drawing on her own language mastery

communicates clearly and encourages clear communication

Communicative English Learners:

develop confidence in their ability to learn

are active, rather than passive, in their own learning process

are curious about, and receptive to, new information

have fun learning

are encouraging, helpful, and cooperative

Communicative English Lessons:

are taught in English-only, with no translation from the teacher

are theme-based, around areas of interest to learners, starting with their own names, and families and friends

consist of 10-15 minute learning tasks, varied and engaging, but never rushed

have transparent learning outcomes, which are clearly communicated

encourage basic speaking and listening comprehension skills for clear communication

honor a "silent phase" for learners not yet ready to speak

present language structures in context, through repetition & practice, for learners to infer grammar patterns

integrate reading and writing skills as appropriate

include learning activities that may be extended and altered as needed by learners

utilize assessment to review and reinforce material and celebrate mastery, always relaxed and encouraging

The Learning Environment:

is student/learner-centered, rather than teacher-centered

is comfortable, friendly, and encouraging

is active, exploratory, and cooperative

views the classroom as a place where social change happens

is where it's ok to make mistakes

celebrates progress and motivation

A Communicative Learning Space:

is student-centered, with all furniture and learning props serving the language needs of learners

is empowering, based on the principles of a “democratic classroom”

is constantly re-configured to facilitate effective communication

is one where the teacher moves around, rather than standing or sitting in one spot

encourages students to get up and interact with others

utilizes visual props, with which both the teacher and the learners interact

allows for tasks that utilize different learning modalities; aural, oral, visual and kinesthetic

can be created anywhere

The Leadership Development Investment Framework

This 3-part framework is guiding our team at Lokuttara Leadership Academy in 2017, as we set our short and long-term goals. This framework emphasizes the development of Leadership, of Capacity, and the ways that Leadership and Capacity intersect.

Dayamudra led the Lokuttara team in a 2-Day Training exploring this model. We recognized that we have been successful in meeting many of these targets in the past 8 years, and that we also have room for improvement. The framework guides us in Program Design, Delivery and Evaluation. In addition, it helps us share the strategies we are using and the lessons we are learning with our funders and other supporters.


There are 5 areas for Leadership Development; the Individual, the Team, the Organization, the Community, and the Field.

As Individuals, we are exploring how we relate to others, how we lead within the organization, how we collaborate on projects, and how we contribute to social change.

As Teams, we are exploring how we set and meet goals, how teams support the individual, how teams coordinate with other teams, how the teams are changing society.

As an Organization, we are exploring how individuals contribute to our Vision and Mission, how the organization is creating new solutions to problems, how we collaborate with other organizations, and how we are changing society.

On the Community Level, our work is PLACE-BASED, set in this place, culture and history. For Lokuttara this means we are rooted in this particular Dalit community, with a history of caste-based oppression, in this village of Mavelikara in Kerala. We are exploring how, in this community, we are forming relationships and creating new visions, and how we are bringing people together to move past barriers that separate people. (Our unique Non-Discrimination Policy is one aspect of this.)

In the Field, of Education and Social Change, we are exploring FIELD-FOCUSED LEADERSHIP. Small groups and networks of people are operating from a “Real Future Possibility”, creating a different quality of connection creating a NEW Social Field, resulting in changes in THINKING, CONVERSING and COLLECTIVE ACTION. Our work is a form of Leadership in the Field itself.


There are 5 areas for Capacity Development; the Individual, the Team, the Organization, the Network, and Social Change.

Individual Capacity: We are asking how do I contribute my gifts, how do I manage and lead others, how do I get my voice heard, and how do I influence others.

Team Capacity: We are asking how well do people work together, how well do we set and meet goals together, and how does he team influence society.

Organizational Capacity: We are asking how the leaders manage and lead the organization, how the organization delivers its Vision and Mission, how the organization responds to the community, and how the organization sets and meets its goals

Network Capacity: We are asking how do we bridge differences in the community, how do we connect diverse perspectives, and how do we organize around shared interests.

Social Change Capacity: We are asking how do we form partnerships across the society. How do we see the “Big Picture” and understand ROOT CAUSES, such as for Lokuttara, the history of caste oppression, gender inequality and poverty. And how does each person make positive change in the SOCIETY.


Individual Development: Gratitude and rejoicing, self-reflection, sustainable workload management

Team Development: Gratitude and commitment, utilizing team members’ potential, define and attain purpose

Organizational Development: Staff, teams and volunteers are supported, teamwork is supported, adapts to challenges, collaborates with other organizations, changes society

Community Development: Learning and engagement with other networks is supported, inclusive community projects, working for SOCIAL CHANGE

Field of Practice and Social Change Development: Cultivating innovative leaders: “LEADERSHIP PIPELINE”, organizing around shared goals in our fields, sharing information about “Best Practices, changing social practices and culture.

(This framework was adapted by Dayamudra from publicly-available materials provided by Compass Point in San Francisco.)

"What I see rising is a new form of presence and power that starts to grow spontaneously from and through small groups and networks of people. It’s a different quality of connection, a different way of being present with one another and with what wants to emerge. When groups begin to operate from a real future possibility, they start to tap into a different social field from one they normally experience. It manifests through a shift in the quality of thinking, conversing, and collective action. When that shift happens, people can connect with a deeper source of creativity and knowing and move beyond patterns of the past. They step into their real power, the power of their authentic self. I call this change a shift in the social field because that term designates the totality and type of connections through which participants of a given system relate, converse, think, and act. -Otto Scharmer

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