Reshma Hamumantesh looks at the newly built houses in the village and smiles with contentment. These homes have been built in Malur, Kolar district of Karnataka, India for the homeless for the region. The homes have been built for people of different religions and castes. An initiative of under the Art of Living’s 5H program which aims to empower rural areas with housing, hygiene, healthcare, human values and harmony in diversity.
“We were very focused on the 5H program. Harmony in diversity is essential. That is why we have built houses for people of different religions and castes in the same area,” tells Reshma.
Reshma, a graduate of The Art of Living’s YLTP (Youth Leadership Training Program), a sister program of 5H, has been instrumental in the building of these homes.
The making of a social leader
Reshma recounts her days before doing the YLTP, a program that builds youth leaders who help implement the objectives of the 5H program. “Before the YLTP I was lackadaisical and under confident,” tells Reshma.
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. Organizing YLTP trainings and satsangs (music and dance celebrations), she spread waves of happiness in her community. However, not all were receptive to her initiatives.
‘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.’
Reshma soon went on to conduct the Breath-Water-Sound Workshop in Central Jail in Bilaspur with 700 participants. “The participants were overjoyed. Many told us that they found a new life.”
She also facilitated the development of 150 acres of land for natural farming. She organized a Rishi Krishi exhibition that offered solutions for organic farming at Kudalsangama in Bagalkot district.
Eventually, Reshma won the respect and admiration of many of those who earlier opposed her involvement with YLTP. “When you contribute for the betterment of society, others will respond to your efforts, sooner or later,” remarks Resha.
When Reshma and other youth leaders reached Malur under the Divine Karnataka Program which puts 5H into effect, they organized many community empowerment programs. “ While the programs strengthened the villagers at an emotional level, we knew we had to do more,” shares Reshma.
“The people there were so poor that they did not even have a roof over their heads,” remarks 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.
Soon, the intention of the volunteers translated into 2 houses, a goshala and an organic farming center.
“The villagers are very happy. They inspire me to take these workshops to more and more places,” says Reshma with a smile.