Sunita Rao, 2012 iLEAP Fellow, India
My slice of time in iLEAP happened rather unexpectedly and my life and work course would have been starkly different should I have not been able to make it.
The iLEAP fellowship further forged the conviction that it is crucial to maintain a fine balance and
connection between our personal space and the public platform we are all so much a part of. This awareness and practice have played a pivotal role in how I have re-approached issues that posed a challenge earlier and seemed insurmountable.
Post iLEAP, I have been able to develop and teach a course on food gardens at a local university catering to rural youth, am involved in an outreach project in a dryland area to help develop a campus for alternative, integrated learning for youth, and am looking at setting up and sustaining a forest garden resource centre with one of our partner trusts. To me these are clear testimonies that show how iLEAP has impacted who I am and how I work.
I am inspired by my iLEAP experience to create a locally adapted leadership program that will sow seeds of change throughout India. My long term dream is to use land/nature care as rehabilitation and therapy for those in the prison system and victims of human trafficking–to regrow the spirits and encourage the voices of those who have experienced extreme hardship.