Introduction

Leadership Programs

Leadership Programs

Our motto is lead, grow, and change. Our goal is to build capacities and develop skills among women and youth with disabilities so they can speak out and lead from the front. We are launching several leadership programs during 2019.

I Can Lead: National Leadership Program for Women with Disabilities

A young woman dressed in a pink kurta with floral print is standing with her crutches against the blue sky with clouds. Her right hand with the crutch is lifted in the air while one of her legs are bent. On the left hand bottom corner it says in bold letters, I Can Lead. Illustration by Upasana Agarwal. On the right hand corner is the Rising Flame logo.A deep red phoenix facing upward is about to take flight. The wings are like flames in shades of red and orange around it. Below this in black are the words: Rising Flame. Logo by Pia Alize

Our flagship program “I can lead”  is a National Leadership program for women with disabilities- the first of its kind in India. Launched on July 11 2019, the year long program focusses on self development and professional growth of young women with disabilities.

A group of six women with disabilities between the ages of 20 and 35 years, I Can Lead Fellows, have been selected from across the country. These fellows will receive holistic mentoring and support as continuous contact and engagement throughout the year. The program offers a total of 20 days of learning and development opportunities- 80% of which will be online and 20% will be in person.

Our unique multi -layered support is in the form of four pillars:

    • Individualised Mentoring: The program has put in special effort in pairing the Fellow with a Mentor (women with and without disabilities who are leaders in their fields) best suited for their futures - this helps in focussed effort to realise their dreams.
    • Group Trainings: These will be conducted by the Rising Flame Mentor on specific curriculum designed for the program on self development in the first 2 quarters and professional growth in the next two quarters.
    • Rising Flame Counsellor: Transformation and change is not an easy journey for anyone; with a disability it could be even more challenging. Therefore, each fellow will receive counselling and therapeutic support from a Rising Flame counsellor to ensure their mental well-being.
    • Peer Learning: The fellows will also have a Rising Flame buddy to assist them in navigating the course with ease and create a friendly peer learning environment.

The fellows include students, corporate employees and development professionals. The mentors include Stuti Kacker- former Chairperson of National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, Meenu Bhambhani- CSR head of Mphasis, Amba Salelkar- lawyer from Equals CPSJ, Smitha Sadasivan- disability rights activist, Deepa Palaniappan- disability consultant and policy researcher, and Rising Flame’s founder and executive director Nidhi Goyal. The counsellor is a trained trauma therapist from Bangalore, Aakriti Joanna from Kaha Mind.

Six fellows, six mentors, one counsellor and the Rising Flame team- all coming from diverse backgrounds, diverse disabilities and diverse identities, with a single unified goal to lead, grow, change.

There are very few women with disability that have support systems that can invest in them, that can help them grow and this is exactly what we want to do so that these women can lead from the front and they believe in lead -grow - change and say I can lead too

Watch Nidhi Goyal, founder and executive director Rising Flame, talk about this program

I have no doubt that this program will produce leaders who are feminists, who are democratic and who believe in collective leadership. Who will be leaders and who will nurture others also.

Watch Kamla Bhasin, senior feminist, talk about the potential impact of the program

We all know that women with special abilities do face a lot of challenges in the world but with Rising Flame and their I Can Lead program, many will come up and have a better chance to work in society,  they will have better chances to prove themselves and contribute in the new India.

Watch Rekha Sharma, Chairperson National Commission for women, talk about the opportunities that the program will create

Here are excerpts from each fellow on what leadership means to them:

The image has a white background and a black jagged-edged border. In the top right corner there's the, I Can Lead image. Below the image it says, 'Save the Date'. Bottom right corner has the Rising Flame logo. In the top left corner, there is I Can Lead fellow, Srishti Pandey's photo in a circle and below that, her quote, 'leadership to me is simply being able to bring a change and I'm sure that this program is going to help me grow as a person'- Srishti Pandey. Below that in a black rectangle it says in white, #ICanLeadFellow The image has a white background and a black jagged-edged border. In the top right corner there's t, I Can Lead image. Below the image it says, Save the Date. Bottom right corner has the Rising Flame logo. In the top left corner, there is I Can Lead fellow, Pratishtha's photo in a circle and below that, her quote, ‘I see immense opportunities for learning and growth in this program that will help us follow our passions in life relentlessly and bring about a meaningful change’ - Pratishtha Deveshwar. Below that in a black rectangle it says in white, #ICanLeadFellow The image has a white background and a black jagged-edged border. In the top right corner there's the, I Can Lead image. Below the image it says, Save the Date. Bottom right corner has the Rising Flame logo. In the top left corner, there is I Can Lead fellow, Asharani Devaiah's photo in a circle and below that, her quote, 'I’m looking forward for this program to help me grow in my work and career. For me, a leader is empathetic and thoughtful and understands the needs of his/her follwers.- Asharani Devaiah. Below that in a black rectangle it says in white, #ICanLeadFellow The image has a white background and a black jagged-edged border. In the top right corner there's the, I Can Lead image. Below the image it says, 'Save the Date'. Bottom right corner has the Rising Flame logo. In the top left corner, there is I Can Lead fellow, Shreelekka's photo in a circle and below that, her quote ‘I Can Lead will help me develop a skillset through which i can be part of a movement and help people to understand what they want and move forward towards their goals’- Shreelekka S. Below that in a black rectangle it says in white, #ICanLeadFellow he image has a white background and a black jagged-edged border. In the top right corner there's the, I Can Lead image. Below the image it says, 'Save the Date'. Bottom right corner has the Rising Flame logo. In the top left corner, there is I Can Lead fellow, Nalini's photo in a circle and below that, her quote, 'I am excited about this program because I will get a chance to meet new people and learn new things. I am also looking forward to learning from my mentor’- Nalini S. Below that in a black rectangle it says in white, #ICanLeadFellow The image has a white background and a black jagged-edged border. In the top right corner there's the, I Can Lead image. Below the image it says, 'Save the Date'. Bottom right corner has the Rising Flame logo. In the top left corner, there is I Can Lead fellow, Kavya Mukhija's photo in a circle and below that, her quote, ‘For me leadership means a creative mix of guidance, authority and empathy because unless you understand those you are leading, you won’t be able to lead them. Through I Can Lead, I want to unleash a stronger version of myself, a version that is more confident' -Kavya Mukhija . Below that in a black rectangle it says in white, #ICanLeadFellow

This work was made possible through partnerships with disability rights organisations, activists and allies who are committed to achieving the same vision as us at Rising Flame.

Quarter 1- Offline Training

Three months of our leadership programme have flown by. The first quarter focussed on the self and asked important questions about the strengths and weaknesses, about the possible goals we set in our lives and finally about how we can focus on making our vision real.

The first quarter had a mix of modules and Skype trainings that led up to the two and a half day training with the Fellows in Delhi in September 2019. The focus of the training was to bring to a close all the conversations about the self that were part of the first quarter. Hence the last day of the training focussed on communication.
Multiple trainers were invited which included Rising Flame team members, mentors from our leadership programme, activists, communications trainers etc. Activists such as Smita Sadasivan and Meenu Bhambani shared their journeys and give us a brief history of the disability rights movement. Their insights were important as both Smitha and Meenu also happen to be mentors on our program.

 

fellows sitting around the room listening to facilitator standing in front of a screen

 

 

 

Communications coach Dr. Sanjeev Kumar's session took us through the basics of communicating well, fine tuning the communication for the desired audience and understanding how to make a point appealing to another person.

 

trainer interacts with a fellow while Nidhi goyal looks and smiles in the background

 

 

 

On the final day Harpriti Reddy from National Association for the Deaf joined us to share her journey. We spoke to her about her negotiations with accessibility and consent as a deaf woman in her everyday life. She addressed the problems deaf women face and highlighted what she discusses in her workshops with deaf women. 

The training was a starting point for us and for the fellows and provided us with an insight into the different topics yet to be discussed in the remaining three quarters.