There are some days that leave a mark on our lives and become a defining milestone. Four years back it was this day when the hard work of many people brought together a group of 17 youngsters as part of Lead The Change program. Youth Alliance was in its primitive stage, full of passion and commitment it set off its first program.Today when I look back at first LTC, I feel it was that program that made Youth Alliance what it is today.
Some brilliant compassionate hearts joined the program, they nurtured it with their love and faith. Many of them stayed back for around two years to build the organisation. Manisha, Seema, Angna, Subhash, Ajay, Shashank became the pillars of the organisation for years to come. They started walking the journey with Vibhuti, Udit, Shivang, Akanksha, the pioneers who hosted the first LTC into the unknown, we could only see a step further sometimes even the step was blurry but faith kept us moving until many more joined the caravan.
I still remember sitting with my diary and scribbling the proposed structure of LTC, with literally zero experience in designing a leadership program. I reached out to Swapnil Bhaiya, one of the co-founders of Jagriti Yatra and I remember finalising 90% of LTC sitting with him. He used to make coffee for me and scold me like a younger brother. The next stop was Vivek bhaiya from Gandhi Fellowship, who had his own unique style of loving by challenging the person. I still remember, "This will not work, you are making a program that will take them to Ivy League." He constantly challenged me to think deeper and was always around when I felt depressed.
It was Valentine's Day when I went to Anshu Bhaiya, to share the model and take his inputs. He patiently listened to all my super excited talks, after the long conversation around the program that we had at the dining table in Goonj, he went in and handed a cheque to me. I did not ask for funds in the entire discussion, not even mentioned the struggle of finances but he saw through me and said,"I know you don't have money and you will need it." He wrote in my diary, "Lage Raho!" I think the only justice I could do to him all these years, is not stop.
There are so many other people who made this possible. It will be hard for me to write about everyone, all I can feel today is deep gratitude for all each one them. From Jayesh Bhai to Ravi Bhaiya who later became part of the journey, from TFI flatmate to school friend, from kids of my TFI class to slum right across my childhood school, from my family back in Kanpur to my partner for life, from my college to universities across the world, from the forces visible to forces invisible, from my country which has always made me feel proud to the world I have started knowing now, all I can say is a big Thank You for making this a reality :)