Anna Daniel is from a small village in Kerala, India. A tourist hot spot, her village is very beautiful but is advancing slowly in accepting new ideas. With her father’s encouragement Anna was active in different social development activities. During 2006 and 2007 due to the outbreak of a plant disease, farmers in the area experienced a strong economic crisis. As a result, many farmers who had received bank loans could not repay them in time. To release themselves from the burden of debt many farmers chose suicide as an option. Her father, along with other village people, came up with an innovative concept called, “Bamboo Village”. The Bamboo Village is an organization who takes loans from the Bank, and buys cows or finds other ways to generate income for farmers. Eventually farmers were able to earn sufficient money to repay their loans. Anna was also involved in this program because she thinks it is her social duty to work for her people.
Anna is a conscientious citizen who is aware of her duties and rights. For example, in her village, there were some people who threw empty bottles on the streets. She came up with the idea of organizing a club named “Children’s Club”. She knew if she started telling the elders not to throw bottles on the street, they might get angry thinking she was not respecting the elders. Instead, with the help of other club members she started cleaning their village and rail stations. Gradually, their work was noticed and the club then began other activities such as making handmade items that were sold to tourists. With the income from selling these handmade things, they started buying books for all club members. Being the President of the club, she led all the team members in these activities, solving some of the issues in her own village. In doing so, she was working to preserve the environment and provided an income source for children and encouraged them in their studies by buying books.
When asked what she wants to be, she replies, “I don’t know what I want to be.” Explaining it further, she says, “I don’t follow anything traditional like being a doctor or engineer. I want to be a leader, serve my community, do research and travel.” She thinks AUW is a good platform for her, where she can find out about her own leadership qualities, and build a future. She thinks that her village is headed for development yet no one is thinking about the tribal people near their area. Therefore, she is planning to work with the tribal people. The Indian government reserves some quotas for the tribal people, but the people there are often not aware of such programs, and they are not encouraged to study and work. She wants to encourage them to study and to receive training which might lead to a better lifestyle. When she thinks about her society from a holistic point of view, she identifies a great problem. She thinks that women are not respected in society. She wants to raise her voice against rape and sexual harassment. Besides all her activities and plans, she cherishes the dream of one day working for UNICEF.
Explaining her willingness to serve society, she said, “As God has sent me into this world, I have to do something for my own community and world.” Anna believes that AUW will help her to become a good leader who can bring positive changes in society.