Originally Posted at GWEI
Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute (“GWEI”) Board of Directors has established the “Essay of Excellence”, a youth “Gandhi Legacy Tour Travel Grant” program.
Two travel grants will be awarded annually – one for the Gandhi Legacy Tour of India (Dec 29 – Jan 12, 2015-2016) and the other for the Satyagraha Tour of South Africa (May 31 – June 15, 2015.) Both tours will be led by Arun Gandhi and his son Tushar.
Aligning with with United Nations Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) Youth Forum, admonition “Giving young people a voice in development”, GWEI partnered with the Rochester, NY-based MK Gandhi Institute of Nonviolence and Gandhi Legacy Tour (“GLT”) to take the next step towards giving youth a voice in international development. “Being that there are nearly 2 billion young people in the world, their broadened point of view is essential in being, shaping, and developing the sustainable future they envision.” stated Lynnea Bylund, Director GWEI and Gandhi Legacy Tour.
GWEI approved the first Gandhi Legacy Tour Travel Grant for two 19 year old youths, Malik Thompson and Yohada Miller. Both were identified and recommended by Kit Miller, Director of the MK Gandhi Institute of Nonviolence based in Rochester, New York.
The first GWEI Travel Grant is for the upcoming Satyagraha Tour of South Africa and optional excursion will begin at the Cradle of Humankind May 30 through June 15, 2015. “In partnership GWEI, Gandhi Legacy Tour, and MK Gandhi Institute take this next step forward in order to open up the opportunity for many youths to explore and advocate young people’s sustainable development priorities in the future.” states Arun Gandhi.
Malik Thompson, a nineteen year-old cis Black queer-romantic grey ace hails from DC, where he recently finished his senior year of high school and is overjoyed to join the Gandhi House and larger Rochester community. His work in DC involved using theater to raise awareness with various social justice issues, by using photography as a storytelling medium to get policy for restorative justice programs implemented in DC public schools; and using videography as a tool to give those most misrepresented in mainstream media the ability to tell their stories. Malik enjoys reading, writing, taking photographs, finding holistic ways to tend to his body, and solitude.
Yahoda Miller, a graduate from Wilson Magnet High School has been volunteering at the Institute since 2012 and has been working through the partner corporation Seed Folks for over a year. He has also been a landscaper for the Gandhi Institute’s garden for three years as well as a six year participant in the Grow Southwest Program. Through his work and training experience he hopes to share more positive energy with both the Institute and the larger PLEX community.
During the Satyagraha Tour of South Africa, Malik and Yahoda will have the opportunity to engage in dialogue with Gandhi family members raised on the Phoenix Settlement, the daughter “Albertina” of the first black Nobel Peace Prize winner in the world Chief Albert Luthuli, leaders and Robben Islanders in South Africa who helped in the re-establishment of the post-apartheid government.
The leaders who made the long walk to freedom will be sharing their wisdom and experience with the young men first hand. Malik and Yahoda will gain perspective of the history of the struggle going back to King Shaka, the Boer-War, the African National Congress (“ANC”), and the Indian National Congress, and how things changed through the leadership of Nelson Mandela and others like Gandhi who paved Madiba’s way. They will visit NGOs working on behalf of child welfare, empowerment of women, art and education, elder care, human rights, poverty, and health care in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town. The tour will in Cape Town where Gandhi’s final departure from South Africa was to London before returning back to India to begin his work there. While in Cape Town they will be visit Robben Island, District 6, Slave Lodge, and meet with the team at the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. “This opportunity for inclusion and putting our youth in the forefront is essential.” states Kit Miller.
Upon return, Malik and Yahoda promise to champion the local Rochester, NY youth community to implement non-violent solutions for change by taking responsibility for being the change they wish to see in their local community and the world. Malik and Yahoda will host and lead “teach-ins” in Rochester after the trip about the work being done in South Africa, it’s relevance to domestic social justice initiatives, and share reflections of their experience. “The teach-ins would explicitly target other youth, to inform about the international nature of non-violence work” states Malik.
Lynnea Bylund is managing director of Gandhi Legacy Tours, Director of Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, founder of Catalyst House and has nearly three decades of experience in administration, marketing and business development. She was a nationally recognized spokeswoman for the emerging alternative video and information delivery industries. She has a degree in holistic health-nutrition from the legendary and controversial health educator and activist Dr. Kurt Donsbach. She is the founder of two not-for-profit small business-based wireless trade associations and has lobbied on Capitol Hill and at the FCC where she has spoken out strongly against the cable TV monopoly, illegal spectrum warehousing and ill-conceived congressional schemes to auction our nation’s precious airwaves to the highest bidder. Ms. Bylund is a founder and former CEO of a Washington DC telecommunications consulting and management company with holdings in several operating and developmental wireless communications systems and companies. In 1995 Lynnea became the first female in the world to be awarded a Broadband PCS operating permit – she was one of only 17 winners, along with Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon in the biggest cash auction in world history, raising a whopping $8 billion. Lynnea also co-led the successful effort to launch the first cable TV network in the South Pacific islands.