Giraffe Heroes India
Giraffe Heroes India (GH/India) aims to bring Giraffe vision, strategies and tools for change to the 1.3 billion people on the Indian subcontinent – making it potentially by far the largest Giraffe global affiliate launched to date.
Vijay Saluja, GH/India’s new Director, hosted Giraffe Heroes International Director John Graham for twelve days in May, 2012, and the two worked together on setting up the new venture.
Here is a copy of GH/India's latest call for nominations:
Nominations invited for Giraffe Heroes India
Under the guidance of Sh. Vijay Saluja, Giraffe Heroes India’s new Director, Giraffe Heroes India (GH/India) aims to bring Giraffe vision, strategies and tools for change to the 1.3 billion people on the Indian subcontinent – making it potentially by far the largest Giraffe global affiliate launched to date.
Saluja, like the Directors of Giraffe Heroes Sierra Leone and Giraffe Heroes Nepal, is a Giraffe Hero himself. Saluja was honored in 2004 for his courageous 20-year stand against the mismanagement and unfair and unethical practices in the New Delhi City Government, where he himself worked as a senior engineer. That experience makes him perfect to direct an operation whose purpose is to move more and more citizens to stick their own necks out, working to help solve important public problems ranging from poverty, corruption and discrimination against women to injustices still remaining from India’s traditional caste system.
Like all Giraffe operations, GH/India will tell the inspiring stories of the country’s heroes, motivating others to become heroic too. GH/India will also offer practical tools citizen activists need to succeed, as well as Giraffe civic engagement programs in schools, helping young people build lives as courageous and compassionate citizens serving a vibrant India.
B.V. Rao, Editor of the magazine Governance Now; Giraffe Hero Bunker Roy;
John Graham, Director of Giraffe Heroes International; and
Giraffe Hero Vijay Saluja, now Director of Giraffe Heroes India.
Saluja and Graham visited dozens of India’s leaders in government, business, media, education and the world of NGOs, seeking their advice and support. Everyone they talked to was very enthusiastic and offers of help have been pouring in. A two-hour meeting with the Maharaja of Jodhpur was important, but the Giraffe idea seemed to resonate among Indians of all ranks, who see the need for building more of the public-spirited courage necessary to take on the country’s daunting challenges.
GHI Director John Graham, Maharajah of Jodhpur, GH/India Director Vijay Saluja,
social activist and educator Varun Arya, taken in the Maharajah's palace
They were gratified by the offers of support and Graham came back very excited by what he saw, and by the energy that Saluja and he were able to generate, even in a short time. One of the many high points for Graham was meeting with traditional village leaders (sarpanches) in the Rajasthan desert, explaining how bringing into their villages stories of Giraffe Heroes—people from all over India solving the kinds of problems they all face—could help them generate enthusiasm and action for local change. Saluja and Graham gave three public presentations, combining Saluja’s inspiring story of his own anti-corruption fight with Graham’s stories of thirty years of working with and learning from Giraffe Heroes.
from left first row: Saluja, Varun Arya and Graham with village leaders
A solid beginning was made with India’s major media, including well-placed articles in major newspapers and an offer of support from Governance Now, a prestigious news magazine that has agreed to carry the stories of India’s Giraffe Heroes when they are ready.
"From the Director"
February 2, 2004 was a very special day for me. On this day, I received a letter from Ann Medlock, the Founder of Giraffe Heroes Project which said:
I was still in the local government of New Delhi, fighting a long legal battle with my own organization. I had filed a case in the High Court in 1993, for a look into the unethical & unfair practices followed by my seniors which had resulted, to my mind, in a huge misuse of public funds. They were encouraging, pampering & protecting unethical colleagues, at the same time that they were harassing & hounding me in every possible way. I was making a stand for professional values & ethics. My good record was changed to damaging assessments of my work, making it impossible for me to advance in my career.
I finally won the legal battle, arguing the case myself against the organization in which I had worked since 1969. In May of 2004 I was appointed the Chief Engineer[civil]-HEAD of my Department.
Why have I given my personal example? It’s about something Ann mentioned in her letter. She said, “the aim is to tell others about you so that they will follow your example.” And that is the aim of this new organization, Giraffe Heroes India. This new non-governmental organization will tell the stories of India’s heroes, so that people all over the country can be inspired to stand tall on public problems they see.
Being appointed DIRECTOR of the Giraffe Heroes India Programme, is a matter of great honour & privilege for me. But having said that, it brings with it huge responsibilities. I’ll be rallying supporters for the cause, calling for nominations, organizing a jury, enlisting media to tell the stories.
Saluja and Graham with Dr. George Mathew,
But, I am happy to tell you that there have already been very enthusiastic & positive responses & I am confident that Giraffe Heroes India will start kicking soon like the operations in Sierra Leone, Egypt, Nepal & the UK.
I welcome your ideas and support.
With best wishes to all & for Giraffe Heroes India
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