Caritas ‘Just’ Leadership Day

A wise man once said – “Authentic Leaders in every setting, from families to nation states, aim at seeking justice, for their own and for others, so that its power can liberate the world”. I have often wondered as to what this quote means – what does it means to be a just leader. How can I help to liberate the world? This was the focus of the Caritas Just Leadership Day that was held at Emmanuel College in Altona on Friday 7 March. The Year 10 house leaders were privileged to attend an event of such prominence to our generation. We were welcomed with the warm smile of the coordinator who ran us through the various activities that highlighted the injustices and prejudices in society. She showed us through the example of her distributing M&M’s to five students, the distribution of the wealth in the world.  Each student represented a group in society – there was the very poor – who received half an M&M, there was the poor who only received one M&M, the middle class who received three M&M’s, the upper class who received ten M&M’s and then there was the rich – who received the whole tub. The severity of this situation saddened many of us in the room and opened our eyes to understanding the inequality of the rich and the poor. There were many activities like this where we were shown different examples and explored different issues that are facing the world today, so that we had knowledge of the injustices that are currently taking place. We were also fortunate enough, to have two guest speakers from Sao Paolo, Brazil. They spoke to us about the injustice at hand in their hometowns and the constant discrimination that is inflicted upon the people of the favela’s (slum). There are generalisations made about these people and are often referred to as “drug dealers”, “dirty” and even “disease-ridden”. Therefore, they are excluded from certain areas and many children are victims of bullying at school. These speakers were born and raised in the slums of Brazil and today studying Law and Architecture each playing very significant roles in the favelas, serving as role models. They are living examples that not everything and everyone in the favelas are bad and out to cause trouble. They want to empower people to feel proud of who they are and raise awareness of the cause so that they can establish organisations for the youth so that they are not victims of abuse and drugs. I was empowered as a leader to challenge social norms. I was encouraged to ask myself how am I going to make a difference to the Salesian College Community and help get rid of ignorance and inculcate love and understating for other under-privileged nations. I learnt that it is not just all about fundraising; it is about why we are fundraising and the cause behind that fundraising. We worked with several schools and looked at different individuals in society who left a mark, who made a positive change to their community and how they brought about change and never differed from their goals, even when they were tempted to. This helped us compare ourselves as leaders and see what they did and how we can do that in our community of Salesian College. Towards the end of the day we worked in a school group and decide how we are going to overcome injustice and as a ‘Just Leader’ help our community understand the issues at hand. We came to the conclusion that we should run a cultural week. Each day we will focus on a part of the world that is in need; such as Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, etc, then during lunch time and recess run activities and games that they would normally be played in that country. Food originating from that region will also be sold at the canteen. Bringing such plan to life most definitely help educate the community of Salesian College Chadstone about injustices in other countries. Overall, I think that after this experience I feel fuller, more human and have a burning desire to lead with justice, and help raise awareness and diminish ignorance, because at the end of the day, it is in achieving justice that we can help liberate the world and make it a better place for all to live in.

Kishon Pawar, 10A3