Leadership Experiential Action Project – Karma-Yoga
Leadership is the most challenging of all relationships. Trying to learn leadership in a classroom is like trying to learn swimming in a classroom. Just as a swimming pool is required to learn swimming, a live setting with actual potential followers is needed to learn leadership.
Creating followers is the essence of leadership, and transforming those followers is the most potent form of leadership. "The transforming leader recognizes and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower. But, beyond that, the transforming leader looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower. The result of transforming leadership is a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents" (Burns, 1978, "Leadership," p. 4). The LEP is an exercise in transformational leadership.
There are 24 villages surrounding the institute's campus that have been adopted by Great Lakes for the LEAP. Students visit these Karma Yoga villages every week. The mission is to enhance the self-esteem and self-efficacy of the villagers (i.e., to empower them), so that they are able to lead a better quality life. Karma Yoga is a real life practical lab to learn and experience the power of transformational leadership. In this attempt by Great Lakers to transform people belonging to nearby villages, the key focus has been in the fields of education, health, agriculture, and small business. Over the past years, Great Lakers have been involved in organizing health camps, financial inclusion programs, agricultural training programs, activity-based learning programs, etc., in association with leading hospitals and several NGOs. Karma Yoga project runs throughout the year and has been quietly transforming the lives of the people around the institute's campus.
All knowledge gained in this project are in the form of real life challenges and situations faced and this helps the students to understand and apply leadership qualities at appropriate junctures in organizations. Mere graduation makes them managers; LEAP makes them different from the other managers. Karma Yoga is far beyond social service. It creates an ability to carve the best out of any person. Seldom does one find a ground to practice and hone one's qualities of Influence, Power and Leadership. Karma-Yoga provides Great Lakers with that platform. Unlike other social service activities, Karma Yoga does not give fish to the needy; instead it teaches them how to fish. Karma Yoga is all about creating an environment of constant interaction, influencing, motivating others towards the betterment of their lives.
Facts and Figures on Karma Yoga
- 24 Panchayat villages under the project
- 21+ schools our students are currently working with
- 60+ village-level events conducted annually
- 600+ school-going children attend tuition classes, science clubs and other educational activities due to Karma-Yoga each year
- 36 scholarships are given to best students in the schools.
- 1000+ participants at the Karma-Yoga Annual Convention
- 2000+ people given individual medical attention.
- 250 +farmers attend organic farming training.
- 150 +women received Livelihood skill training.
- 200 +families helped with cyclone relief materials
- 10 tri cycles for 10 panchayats to collect cabbage in the villages
- 10 toilets for deserving needy families
- 15 first aid kits for 15 villages
- 1 Resource Centre
- 2 libraries