Coming Together Is A Beginning; Keeping Together Is Progress; Working Together Is Success.” – Henry Ford
I am but an ordinary man with ordinary issues. These issues range from career growth to personal commitments. Running around trying to fulfil these concerns, I find myself mostly hard-pressed for time to really look at the world around me. And when I do, in those idle moments, I feel helpless. I see an India whose vulnerable populations have no means for finding social security; an India which is so poverty-stricken, an India where discrimination and stigmatization against transgenders, Hijras, LGBT community and people who use drug merely does not exist, but flourishes… I see so much sadness in a country that I revere and am most proud of. I wholeheartedly then promise myself that as a responsible citizen I will one day make a difference!
That one day came on September 19, 2016, when I joined India HIV/AIDS Alliance. It was a normal job switch when I joined this esteemed organisation, the difference here was the people! I was astounded by the level of commitment that the staff showed towards their work. The zest with which everyone was working towards empowerment of India’s vulnerable population made me so much more motivated towards my work.
In Alliance, inclusivity is the most integral part of the organization. The human resource comprises of representatives from different vulnerable communities who work together, celebrate each other’s achievements, while having fun. It truly looks and feels like a family. And, at my first retreat here the sense of warmth increased when I learnt that more than 70% of the staff were working here more than four years and 40% have crossed 6years… truly like a family!
Making it even more interesting are the weekly Monday meetings that start at sharp 10 am, and bring with it a breadth of fresh air. When people rush to join the meeting and we sarcastically clap for people for late-comers, the sense of joviality just increases. While every department enthusiastically showcases their work from the last week and strategizes on the weekly plan, the sense of purpose heightens. I, especially, love when Simran Shaikh, a trans-activist and Senior Programme Officer of our Wajood project, gives her updates which starts with a passionate “Good Morning from Wajood”. Seeing people such as, Rohit Sarkar, a gay activist and Senior Programme Officer for Samarth project, whose commitment towards his work is commendable, and Mona Ji, a PLHIV leader working within our Vihaan programme, who dedicatedly fulfils all her responsibility, encourages me all the time.
Today, I thank this wonderful organisation for helping this ordinary man live an extraordinary life by inspiring my work, for igniting my passion, and by institutionalizing an inclusive culture that is based on trust, respect and integrity.
The author of this blog is Pankaj Sharma, Administration Officer for India HIV/AIDS Alliance
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