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.
PART THREE: OPPORTUNITIES FOR DEVELOPMENT
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