Ten second-year novices and four sisters (three tertians) attended “Enlightened Leadership” program for seven days at USM, Mahalaxmi Nagar, Indore. It is a unique program meant for the students of class eight to nine. Universal Solidarity Movement (USM) of value education for peace is founded by Father Varghese Alengaden in 1993. Through the training program, USM communicates the message of peace and promotes the values of justice, pluralism, brotherhood/sisterhood and solidarity to teachers, students, parents and other groups. The motto of this movement is ‘Transform the world by transforming the self.’

Fourteen SCN participants accompanied by Sisters Basanti Lakra and Sudha Rani joined the students of two schools, St. Teresa, Bhopal and Don Bosco, Alirajpur, Madhya Pradesh for the program. The training was conducted from June 26 to July 2 by a very efficient trainer and her team. The program began at 8.00 a.m. and ended at 8.00 p.m. After that, the participants had to complete their project work to present it the next day which kept them awake till 11 p.m. The topics dealt through the sessions and viewing movies followed by discussions were on present socio-political issues, leadership, religiosity and spirituality, exposure to the slum education center and a big mall without money, difference between visionary persons and ambitious persons, vision, goal setting and policy making, etc. Prayer for peace was conducted twice every day which was based on inter-religious prayer using songs and scriptures from different religions.

At the end of the day, the participants had to write the evaluation of the day mainly new learning, insight, and resolution and share it with the group on the stage. All the personal projects such as writing letter to the editor, book review, speech, report on exposure, quiz and personal report, etc., were also presented to the group daily. Though the participants found it tough for two days, later they showed interest and enthusiasm to perform well and worked hard in all the activities. By the end of seven days, the participants gained a lot of self-confidence in speaking, writing and presenting them well. They learned to mingle with one another, and the values of punctuality, discipline, sensitivity and hard work. They also pledged to follow Five Paths for Personal Transformation.

Our novices and SCNs have been given this opportunity to develop their leadership skills. They are happy that they have discovered their gifts and are determined to develop them. Each one has written her personal vision, goal and action plan and shared with the SCN group. Novices have made their action plans as follow up of the training program to become leaders with competence and commitment. Salma’s personal report and novices’ action plan will give you the taste of their experience. We hope that our effort of mentoring leadership will bring much fruit.

Sisters Basanti Lakra & Sudha Rani | More photos

Action plan of second-year novices Bethel, Mokama, Patna

  • We will read the books of great leaders for an hour every day.
  • We will learn five new words every day.
  • We will read newspaper for half an hour every day.
  • We will write letters to the editor once a week (for learning purpose).
  • We will have speeches on different topics once in a month.
  • We will update ourselves on general knowledge and have quiz once in a week.
  • We will share five paths with the 1st year novices and follow them.
  • We will subscribe two more youth action magazines and two sets of news paper.
  • We will continue to read the youth action magazine.
  • We will start analyzing critically after reading the newspaper, magazines
    and any other books of great leaders.
  • We will be punctual and hard working for the welfare of the society.
  • We will purchase biographies of great leaders for the novitiate library.
  • We will be writing the reviews of the books after reading.
  • We will play a song from Pratyasha CD during our prayer once in a week.

Personal Report of Novice Salma Lepcha

The day I heard about the leadership program in Indore, I felt I am the luckiest one to attend this program. The day I came to USM (Universal Solidarity Movement) Laxminagar, Indore, I was welcomed with a broad smile and I felt welcomed and accepted. The U.S.M community over here is very loving and ever ready to share knowledge. I found a spirit of oneness and togetherness in the community. What I observed in U.S.M is the equality among its members. All share the common food in the common dining room. I was also motivated by the numerous quotes displayed on the walls, doors and windows which kept me active and alive. I found these seven days very meaningful and worthwhile. It helped me to develop my inner-abilities. I liked the methods and topics which were used during our training specially the commentary of Neetu Mam and the discussions of each film helped me to look at it differently.

Input sessions– First of all I learned to be a good listener. These input sessions helped me to have a better understanding of the qualities required as a leader. I also learned to set my vision, goals, and policies which are going to be very effective for my life.

Movies – The five Hindi movies (Pratighat, Do Kalakar, Dharam, Gandhi and Prahar) were very much connected to the topics of our training. I found these movies very inspiring to practice in my life as a visionary leader. Each movie helped me to foresee my vision. It also helped me to understand the socio-political condition of India. It not only gave me knowledge but helped me to practice them in my life.

Exposure – I found the exposure to a slum education center and after that visiting a big mall without money was very helpful to become aware of the present condition of India. Many times, I get obsessed with the brands, jealousy, laziness but not with vision. This exposure helped me not to look for the things which give self-satisfaction but to look for the things which give joy.

Personal projects – Though it was a challenging task but it helped me a lot to discover my intellectual capacity. I discovered that I also have the imagining power to put my views and ideas in my projects. The evaluation of each day has helped me to be a determined person.

At the end of this program I feel that many changes have taken place in my life especially in my attitudes i.e. I had a negative attitude towards my behavior like a feeling of inferiority, low self-esteem, which had drawn me back from the reality. I also learned many good things from my friends, and I felt much appreciated and respected by everyone.

Some of my important resolutions which I have committed to follow are: –

  • I will follow the five paths of USM without failing
  • I will not be overly attached to my negative behaviors and attitudes.
  • I will be available for all not only for those who give me reward.
  • I will become a visionary person.

The Caption of my learning and experience of these seven days is “Effective, Enlightening, Energizing, Enthusiastic environment”.

At last, I take this opportunity to thank everyone in the USM community for their commitment and dedication and also making my stay memorable. I also thank you for my friends, teachers, and sisters for accompanying me these seven days through your encouragement, time, love and support. All of you have enriched me so much.

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