BIS #6603 Don Bosco Nerul Universal Solidarity Movement

by Mahira Ahuja & Vivena Rodrigues

The students of class IX and XI of Don Bosco Senior Secondary School, Nerul had the opportunity of attending the leadership training program at USM (Universal Solidarity Movement) in Indore. This program was conducted from 14 to 20 March, 2022.

USM is a movement that wants to create leaders who are visionaries and have self-discipline as well as sensitivity towards all sections of our diverse society. The students were conveyed these ideals through movies, deliberations, speeches, and daily evaluations that helped them understand and sustain what was being taught.

The knowledge gained by the students in this one week program gave them a feeling of transformation in character to follow what they learnt and be a responsible citizen of our country.

Grace Dsouza of class IX shared her views on the USM community and said that the inter-religious prayer conducted daily was more peaceful that anything she had ever experienced. The mentors and domestic staff of the community embraced the students with the warmth and care. All the people are very easy to talk to and were always ready to help the participants. Each wall there had pictures of revolutionary and inspiring people as well as various quotes that kept the students motivated throughout the training period.

Manan Martin, a student of class XI, Commerce expressing his views on the values and knowledge he gained through this training, said, “The USM journey has been a one-of-a-kind experience that was full of learning and realization. There were many things to understand and practice in our day-to-day life. The main takeaway I have had is knowing about pluralism." Everyone at USM is treated with equal dignity and respect which showed us how pluralism is not only preaches but practiced at USM.

The participants understood about what it takes to be an effective leader. They realized the importance of getting out of their comfort zones and taking initiatives to reach their goals. Both character and competence are equally important. The aspect of having a vision rather than ambition was something new the students learnt. Visionaries should have courage to stand alone and not be routine. People with a vision will complete their tasks differently and that is what the participants aim to be like.

This experience and exposure has changed the students. A transformation can be seen in them for the better. Father Varghese Alengaden the founder of the Universal Solidarity Movement made a statement that should be pondered up and understood by all, “Compete with yourself, not others. Don’t aim to be the first, aim to be the best.”