Reshma Hamumantesh looks at the newly finished 21 homes in the village and smiles with contentment. These homes have been built in Malur, Kolar district of Karnataka, India for the homeless in the region. Along with two other Yuvacharyas (Youth Leaders) and volunteers of the Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP), these houses were built for underprivileged of different religions and castes under the 5H programs.
The 5H program stands for Homes for the homeless, Health care, Hygiene, Human Values and Harmony in diversity. The YLTP and 5H are sister programs whereby YLTP puts into effect all that 5H envisions through leadership training.
The story begins in 2001 when Reshma did the YLTP course herself. “Before the YLTP I was lackadaisical and underconfident.” Yet soon after the course that changed and she began conducting Breath-Water-Sound Workshops for State Home Girls and National Cadet Corps staff members. The workshop teaches its participants simple yet effective techniques to remove stress and focuses on contributing to the society through service. It also incorporates various aspects of the 5H program.
Conducting the workshops set the ball rolling. Her laxity and lack of confidence were nowhere in sight. She began to immerse herself in service projects. Reshma facilitated the development of 150 acres of land for natural farming and organized a Rishi Krishi exhibition at Kudalsangama in Bagalkot district. Rishi Krishi is a complete solution for organic farming which promotes the use of bio-fertilizers and teaches the methods to balance the farm ecosystem.
Stalwart Service Soul
Nonetheless, it wasn’t a cakewalk for her. ‘Being born in a Muslim family, I had to face several problems. Some people from my community were opposed to me working with the YLTP and 5H program.’ Even so, Reshma, a devoted service soul, kept working and has now won the respect and admiration of many of those who earlier opposed her involvement with YLTP. She feels that when you contribute for the better of the society, others will respond to your efforts, sooner or later. “I organized YLTP trainings and satsangs (music and dance celebrations). I conducted a Breath-Water-Sound Workshop at Centrail Jail in Bilaspur with 700 participants. And now, these homes in Malur,” she tells with a smile.
Both, the YLTP and 5H program, are focused at working on the grassroots level and creating a shift in rural and tribal settings worldwide. The programs aim at creating leaders from these communities who can undertake service projects to bring about economic self-sufficiency in these areas.
When this team of youth leaders reached Malur under the Divine Karnataka Program which puts 5H into effect, they organized many courses, including Breath-Water-Sound workshops, YLTPs and Art of Living Part I Courses in the villages. “At Malur village, we saw that many people were so poor, they did not even have a roof over their heads,” shares Reshma. The Karnataka YLTP state co-ordinator Jagdish Shastry agreed that something must be done and with two other youth leaders - B.M. Patil and Suchitra - the work began.
Today, 21 houses stand in Malur. Also, a goshala (cow shelter) and organic farming center have been built. Talking about the houses, Reshma says, “We were very focused on the 5H program. Harmony in Diversity is essential. We have built houses for people of different religions and castes.” Today, along with this sense of harmony, these villagers feel a sense of security as well, sitting in their new houses.