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What do I talk about when I talk about Cross Borders Leadership Fellowship?

By Dimple George - CBL 2.0 Fellows

I talk about opportunity meeting a searching soul.

The profoundly transformational and long-lasting impact of the early years on a child’s lifelong learning and health, the equally profound role of adults in a child’s life, and my love for children were the three powerful reasons that attracted and rooted me in the field of early childhood education and parenting for a cathartic period of almost two years. It was in 2019, that I decided to begin my professional journey with Meraki, a resilient nonprofit startup, that has set out to transform the early childhood landscape in India. At Meraki, we believe that educating children begins with educating and supporting their parents and caregivers. After more than two years of learning and doing, I was ready for more. And as if in response to an unspoken wish released into the universe, I was presented with the Cross Borders Leadership (CBL) fellowship opportunity by an incredibly generous colleague. Just like I envisioned, CBL gave my fellow mates and myself, wings to soar high across and fins to dive deep into the field of global early childhood education.

I talk about the spirit of entrepreneurship

CBL is the fruit of the relentless passion and entrepreneurial zest of its founder Farah Mouhana and her collaborators. Throughout the CBL journey, Farah has been a pillar of support and a propeller of dreams. Always available and flowing with warmth, she gives you the sense that anything is possible. There is always scope for more. More learning, more doing, more collaborating, more sharing, and more fun. Without her vision and hard work, none of this would have been possible. It is this spirit of entrepreneurship that turns the wheels of civilization all around the world and helps the rest of us in making our share of a dent in the universe.

I talk about learning, growing, and making a difference.

CBL has given me the opportunity to read about, talk to, and listen to passionate early childhood educators and leaders from places such as the UK, Nigeria, and India. What was striking to all of us were the similarities in the challenges that early childhood as a sector faces. Some of these challenges are the following :

  1. Lack of age-appropriate resources for play for young children in under-resourced communities.

  2. Lack of decent pay, respect, and professional development opportunities for early childhood educators.

  3. Lack of parental awareness and involvement in children’s developmental needs and children’s education.

  4. Prevalence of neglect and abuse in many of the communities we work in.

Despite the challenges, we all shared hope for a better future for all educators, caregivers, and most importantly, for our children. We appreciated the onset of a global movement in the early childhood sector. We acknowledged the roadblocks in front of us and educated ourselves on social leadership. We became aware of our own power to create a change in ourselves and in our communities. We came together as groups to identify the problems we felt most passionate about and created a plan and took actions that seek to resolve these problems.

I talk about the power of friendship, support, and collaboration

CBL has put me in touch with some of the most wonderful and industrious people I have ever met. While I haven’t interacted with all my fellow mates, the interactions I have had have been extremely informative and nurturing in a lot of ways. Some of the standout moments for me included collaborating with the vibrant Anupa Gnanakan on a video for her significant and creative youtube series “Breaktime Conversations”, brainstorming with the lovely Romi Nakkeeran on early childhood curriculum design, attending the engaging session on “Curriculum Development as Remedial pedagogy after the Pandemic” by Faqrul Islam, and project discussions with my generous mentors Ratul and Nayeli. The warmth and generosity exuded by all my fellow mates inspire me to move forward and onward in my journey to creating a meaningful and joyful present and future for our children, caregivers, and educators.

When I talk about Cross Borders Leadership, I will always talk about the guiding light in the middle of a daunting path. I will talk about how instrumental it has been in my professional and personal development. I will always be grateful to everyone involved with CBL for taking an initiative that has ignited a spark in early childhood professionals across the globe to transform themselves and transform the lives of the people they serve.

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