As an integral part of this year’s Indicorps Fellowship, each 2009 Fellow crafted a 3-4 day Personal Workshop visit to a community-based grassroots development organization on a topic of interested to them. Fellows were encouraged to spend a few days at a different organization, learn from their experience(s), and share best practices. Fellows were given flexibility to schedule their personal workshop and decide where to go within a 12-hour train radius of their own project site.
Members of the August 2009 Fellowship Class organized varied and constructive personal workshops. Learnings ranged from technical to relationship-building to personal growth. Rushi Sanathra, a fellow at Lok Mitra focusing on nurturing rural social entrepreneurs in Gujarat visited Mann Deshi, a microfinance organization in Maharashtra. Sanathra returned to his project site with a different viewpoint on rural development. He shares, “It was really good for me to go to another place and see how their methods are similar and different from ours. I got a chance to bring back some of Mann Deshi’s practices to my project site and to share mine with them. It was a very symbiotic give and take process.”
Hardeep Bhatha (August 09 Fellow), whose project is Public Health Business Management in Maharashtra, visited Anandwan, an organization for marginalized leprosy patients started by renowned Indian activist, Baba Amte. She came back humbled by her experience. The Personal Workshop gave her a chance to explore the depth of relationships and understand the power of the human spirit. She says, “Going to Anandwan was a life-altering experience because the love and spirit I found there is incomparable to anything I have experienced before.”