Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals

Who is a true leader, according to you?

One who is empathetic towards others, who would not make false promises just for the sake of votes, has a clear vision as to why she/he is even contesting elections, does not pressurize voters, builds a great rapport with the communities and the one who always speaks to someone with respect. Isn’t it??

We would like you to meet Sarpanch Gopal Meena because he is a genuine example of leadership!

A newly elected sarpanch from Hirapura Gram Panchayat, Gopal Meena, a resident of village Raithal, District Jaipur, was born to a poor Scheduled Caste family. Gopal did his primary schooling from his village and has later completed Master’s in Social Work.

Gopal Meena approached the Vishakha organization in search of work of his interest, and that’s when his passion towards the social sector grew further. He continued to serve communities even after he became the Sarpanch.

Four years back, he got the opportunity to join CORO’s Grassroots Leadership Development Program as a mentor.

He says, “I grew up in a rural setting, it has also been my workplace. I am well aware of the community’s customs, culture, practices, etc. After joining CORO’s GLDP four years ago as a mentor, I learnt the art of true leadership. The fellowship helped me in understanding various social issues. It helped me to work on issues with values, develop thinking ability and also keep an eye on political activities. I braced myself to acquire community ideologies and work for what is right. And thus, in December 2019, when it was announced that there are elections for Sarpanch to be held soon, I decided to file my nomination for the same, from the seat reserved for the Scheduled Tribes. I was assured by my people that they would help me contest this election. I was also very lucky that CORO had my back throughout. I began making different plans in my mind. I kept thinking, why should I contest these elections, who to fight for, who will be benefited etc. The answers were right in front of me - enabling and facilitating change in the communities! I was very clear from the beginning that this opportunity should not go waste. I was fully prepared to face any hurdle that came my way, during the election campaign. There were indeed several hurdles. Right from dynasty and gotra battles, lack of money, not being able to form a women’s team to chaos around distribution of alcohol and other drugs etc. But I was able to overcome these challenges.

Finally the day arrived! Gopal Meena took the oath of the Indian Constitution and promised to work towards creating an equal and a just society, where there is no scope for discrimination and also make sure that the panchayat is corruption free. He aims to increase women participation in his panchayat, give more importance to education of girls, provide basic facilities and support and facilitate marginalised communities. And all of this shall be done with the help of Constitutional values.

But, what makes him so different and able?

Gopal has spent 25 years of his life in the social sector, raising the consciousness among people, making them aware of social issues. In this journey, Empowering Women has been one of the most important aspect of his life. He has never let any opportunity waste when it comes to talking about equality and working towards equal society.

We at CORO, work towards a society based on equality and justice, by empowering leaders in the most marginalised communities. We are extremely proud of Gopal Meena and many of our leaders who continue to steer collective action for social change.