In India today, 4% of our children never start school. 58% don’t complete primary schools. And 76% don’t complete school. The key question that drives our work is: What happens to the 90% of students who don’t complete school? How can we empower students who have been failed by the education system
to lead productive lives and to be engaged and socially responsible citizens?Lead India Today (LIT) exists because of a deep belief that every child can and must attain self-actualization. Our program focuses on how youth and citizens can build their entrepreneurial and leadership skills. For us, a generation of socially responsible citizens is the one with freedom for all to have the opportunity to reach their potential.
Lead India Today (LIT) builds the capacity of youth and citizens to develop and spearhead sustainable mechanisms through its leadership-training program. We also aim to serve as a medium of training so that our volunteers can learn first-hand the skills and tools that they need to mobilize the community and implement development projects.
Lead India Today (LIT) teaches youth tangible leadership skills and serves as a catalyst to community development by empowering students to create their own social change project.
Our model stands on three main philosophies:
First, youth has the capacity to exercise leadership and need to be empowered to enable them to impact palpable change by making interventions that develop their communities.
Second, communities need to develop self-sustaining mechanisms and cannot solely rely on external agents such as the government and international development agencies to address their immediate challenges.
Third, development processes require communities as a whole to examine their shared and conflicting interests so that these are modified and streamlined with their reality as necessary. This process of assessing and molding values is an indispensible and protracted learning process. Communities need to fully engage in discovering new alternatives to view their challenges and new ways of approaching them.
These basic assumptions imply that Lead India Today (LIT) believes that:
“Youth has the potential and responsibility to exercise leadership in their communities by mobilizing people to engage in learning processes through which they assess and shift values, attitudes and mindsets in ways that shape locally-conceived development interventions and agendas.”
Thus, our model can be represented as:
In order to exercise leadership and implement what they learn from our leadership-training program, citizens must mobilize their communities to develop and execute community development projects. LIT delegates design their projects only after engaging in conversations with community members regarding the pressing development challenges that need to be tackled. The interactions that the LIT volunteers have with community members are centric to how communities envision their futures, their present realities, and what values, perspectives and attitudes need to be streamlined so that communities can achieve their envisioned futures. These interactions are then distilled to pragmatic development projects that LIT delegates and other community members implement together. In that process, LIT shall be directly involved in mobilizing communities through marshalling community members and creating communication channels that keep everyone involved.
Summing up, youth drives community development by orchestrating sustainable mechanisms for themselves and their local communities. LIT, thus, empowers citizens through its Community Development Centers (CDCs) to assume their social responsibility and develops their leadership capacity for more influential roles in the future.