In 2009, the Leadership Development Program (LDP) began in East India. Acceptance into the program came with three days of orientation training.
The theme for the training was “Released to Maximize Impact.” The first day’s session centered on biblical foundations and biblical mentoring principles with special emphasis on the leadership qualities of biblical characters such as Moses, Joshua, Jacob and Joseph, shared by the Rev. K.E. Henry, Program Manager of Compassion East India. Henry also shared about “Discovering your Spiritual Gifts.”
On the second day, the students learned about the curriculum they would use during their time as LDP students, and the mentoring relationships they will have.
In the Leadership Development Program, each student chooses a mentor who guides them through the program, helping them with emotional, physical, social and even educational needs.
Mentors need to be of the same gender with an ability to capacitate, empower, encourage and motivate the student with godly admonition, love, care, concern and support. Students learned about their roles and responsibilities, and their accountability to their mentors.
Deep, one of the 20 new LDP students, can attest to the positive outcome of mentoring from his days as a sponsored child.
Deep grew up in abject poverty. His father worked at a tea shop, and his mother did dishes and mopped in a few houses to support the household.
Deep’s father was an alcoholic and addicted to marijuana. There were frequent fights at home because of his father’s addiction.
At times Deep’s father would beat and abuse Deep’s mother for money to buy his drugs. There was no peace in the family. Deep was moving into depression because of the unhealthy atmosphere. His parents took little to no interest in his development at the church; neither did they have time for him when they were home.
Because of their poor family condition, Deep’s mother wanted him to drop out of school. She would often pester him to find a part-time job to help in the household. Deep suffered from low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
It was at this time that the accountant at the Compassion child development center began to invest in Deep through counseling, encouragement and prayer.
Deep’s self-confidence grew. He also developed a personal relationship with God during this time. His academic performance improved as he began to excel in his studies. Deep got first division scores in his 10th and 12th grade exams that helped him qualify for the Leadership Development Program.
Deep says the mentoring relationship in the Leadership Development Program will be pivotal to the success of each student. His mentor in the Leadership Development Program is be the same man who helped him as a sponsored child, Lalnufela.
“Lalnufela has been a close friend and guide to me. He has helped me, encouraged me, edified me and prayed for me every time I needed help.
“I know that my journey in the Leadership Development Program is not going to be just that of me alone, but my mentor will be there to help me every step of the way, whether I am faced with difficult circumstances or standing at the crossroad of life. I want my mentor to be a guide to show me the right direction in life and also to pray for me and my family.”
The mentoring relationship is based on trust, hope and confidence as it can either build or demotivate a student. A mentor must be a mature Christian, exemplifying humility, mutual respect, love, hope, confidentiality and accountability.
Through the mentoring relationship, a mentor can share wisdom, value, knowledge and experience to help the student develop Christian values and professional skills.
Deep’s mentor has helped him in many ways. He helps Deep in counseling when he needs it. He has also helped guide Deep to discern and set priorities while making important decisions in life.
A student can discuss many things with a mentor during regular contact time that corresponds to the student’s academic, social, spiritual and leadership progress.
Deep’s mentor shares his experiences with him, counsels Deep from the Word of God, and helps him plans how to best fulfill the requirements for all 24 curriculums that LDP students must complete while in the program.
After completion of his bachelor’s degree in administration, Deep plans to pursue management studies for two years. After his graduation from the Leadership Development Program, Deep wants to help children who cannot reach their potential because of poverty.