What is ‘Initiatives of Change for Life’?
‘Initiatives of Change for Life’ (IfL) is an attempt of Initiatives of Change (IofC) India www.in.iofc.org to build a team of people, singly and together, committed for life to help change the world through changing themselves first. The team has come together because of personal conviction and faith in the IofC way of living through their own experience of it. They have no demands and conditions and have made themselves available together for up to three years to serve any society.
Being together long enough, the members will learn to become a team of friends for life. Strongly committed to begin global change through personal change, they have adopted the daily discipline of listening, writing and obeying the inner voice.
IfL aims at taking these tools of IofC and using them to answer the issues in society. IfL is designed mainly for reaching out into countries, sharing personal and social change experiences. So it is for operating outside IofC centres and safe havens, being ‘on the road’ again doing meaningful outreach action.
‘IfL’ is for those who are convinced of IofC, have experienced personal change and want to take ownership of it to build the IofC of the future.
The first year was devoted to working in different parts of India. The second is for being available to Asia also. So a very productive month-long visit to Sri Lanka happened in October 2015. This is being followed up in the next months with the many opportunities found in this first visit (see the two reports). In the third year after August 2015, IfL is open to helping in any other part of the world.
What do you receive as an IfLer?
Being an IfLer challenges us to ‘walk the talk’ every moment. It molds one to be the sort of person the world needs. It helps us become more compassionate and empathetic. It is an immense intellectual, physical and spiritual learning.
It provides an opportunity to reach out to people in different parts of the world and to try and make a difference to them.
Gains in learning:
- To be effective agents of societal change through outreach actions as a team (in India with state governments; industry; youth in schools and universities; the marginalized and different communities including some seeking to enhance their identity)
- Daily discipline of inner listening & obeying
- Effectiveness in one-on-one follow up of individuals
- Perfecting training delivery and communication on outreaches
- Getting connected enough to be reliable teammates for IofC’s contribution to the world - for life!
The joy of working with different people from all walks of life, to connect with them on a deeper level that gives one the personal satisfaction that one seeks throughout life.
As a part of this global team building effort, there is a monthly stipend for those who free themselves and join the totally available group in India. (There is the opportunity within this time for these individuals to develop employable skills in the training and communication domain for afterwards.)
What has IfL achieved and what impact has it created?
In its 16 months, IfL has interacted with more than 7000 people and visited over 43 places in India and Sri Lanka. IfL programmes have given people a way to connect to themselves or their inner voices and become agents of transformation.
Achievement in Meghalaya:
Nearly 600 gram sevaks and gram sevikas (rural development government servants) were trained back-to-back in July and August 2013. After this training there was a tangible difference in the department – some stopped the drinking habit, others began shunning corruption, conviction to serve the people and decisions not to exploit or create problems for them were actioned. The bureaucrat heading this Community and Rural Development, Meghalaya Principal Secretary K. N. Kumar publicly said the department had ‘totally transformed’, also from being a ‘headache’ to a place where no new cases were filed against the state government by these employees any more.
After the IofC training of every employee of the Fisheries Department, performance soared. Where for 44 years there were only 3000 fish ponds in all of Meghalaya, in two years 26,000 fish ponds were completed out of their new 5 year target of 1,00,000! Fish imports from outside the state have been halved.
In the month of October, 2015, the team visited 21 places in Sri Lanka in 32 days and found the potential and opportunities IofC has in the unity and reconciliation work.
There is still a lot that needs to be done in the North East of India, South India and in Sri Lanka.