Monday, December 14, 2009

On a Mission, or two, or three . . .

Some of you may be starting to wonder if I am doing any work out here! Rest assured, we are working hard every day. The intent is to spend the first week and a half acquainting ourselves with Kalleda school and village. There is no shortage of people to meet, classes to observe, and problems to solve. As it turns out, our arrival time and our intentions correspond perfectly with a number of other events taking place in the RDF community. Many of these events stem from the fact that Vandita intends to dedicate all of her time and energy to RDF during the next two years before she will step out and hopefully assume grandmotherly duties! Vandita is an incredibly strong leader and an inspiring woman with a never-ending list of ideas for improvements to the RDF community and problems to be addressed.

In this stage of RDF’s development the focus is on young leaders. As the founders of the organization reach the stage where they will be passing on the reigns, there is a need to identify and encourage new leaders to step up and take control. Along with Liza and I who will be living in Kalleda, there are two men from Hyderabad that will travel to the schools regularly in order to assist with this process. Kiran is working on career counseling and Ravi is assisting with the development of small local projects in the village. Liza and I will be working with the current students, teachers, and alumni to build leadership skills, improve English, and solve local problems. It seems that our biggest challenge will be limiting the ever-growing pile of tasks on our plate.

Despite the many other areas in which we will be assisting, our priority remains developing youth empowerment through the art of digital storytelling and leadership workshops. With this goal in mind we have created the following mission statement:

Our mission is to empower youth to recognize themselves as agents of change within their community. Our goal is to utilize the medium of digital storytelling to explore the concept of leadership and possible solutions to community problems while developing skills of critical thinking, self-expression, and Action Planning.

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