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Manifesting Compassion in Leadership Development


In the Bapu Trust, soon after inception in 1999, we learnt that personal motivation, effective team collaboration, aptitude for creativity and innovation and leadership are not 'natural instincts'.  They  have to be diligently cultivated, refreshed and mentored, within a value based framework. The World Center for Creative Learning Foundation ( mentored our organizational development needs by creating a "HR manual" for us. The abiding values of this manual were:


- Respect for all, whatever the functional levels;

- Self-determination and motivation at all levels;

- Collaboration within staff and teams;

- A leadership driven organization

- Team effectiveness and optimizing usefulness to oneself, to one's team, the organization, and to communities;

- and a value based ethical system


Bapu Trust, over the years, has maintained an OD culture throughout. We have created spaces and processes for positive and proactive exchange between team members, people and organizational values, harm reduction in working together, non-violent communications, filling out roles while maintaining boundaries, 'letting go', 'leadership' over 'management', etc.


Slowly, with the introduction of Arts Based Therapy trainings for BT's organizational leaders, programs became more colourful, more contemplative, and centered within aspirations of each person, while forging deeper connections in each team and with the larger organization and communities. Words like "Partnerships", "Networks", "Ripple effects", etc. became more frequently used within the team establishing our interdependence.  We continued to be  wonder-struck by the large wave-like, expansive effects that even small gestures of generosity and caregiving can have.  So, BT people partnered more closely together with tens and hundreds of people in a way to build collective aspirations for a world free of suffering; and we became more and more expansive in our wish to be useful and in our collective actions. The process of 'scaling up' began!


Will we be able to safeguard our people centric work culture, our compassion, our wish to be wise and useful, and our strong ethical value base? We will for sure, try!!


The 'Leadership' language has been very handy, continues to be useful, especially the tools and the techniques. However, it does not go deep into people, touching their very existence and transforming them from within. It does not give moral questions for everyday life.  Working in mental health, with a vast diversity of people this is what we need.


We rechristened our HR program as "Manifesting Compassion in Leadership Development".


With loving and intensive trainings and mentorship by WCCLF, and slowly soaking in the wisdom of all our Buddhist Teachers, Bapu Trust has started "Pradnya Smriti" (Remembering the Wisdom).


Prajnya Smriti is woven around the 6 Paramitas (Ways to transcendent wisdom)- generosity (dhana), discipline (shila), patience (kshanti), diligence (veerya), meditation (dhyaana) and wisdom (prajnya).


The objectives of Prajna Smriti across all levels of BT are:


-  To set a common moral code for all staff

-  To transfer values from the few old staff to a whole new batch of incoming staff

-  To break 'binaries' (senior /  junior; old / new; literate / illiterate; etc.) and being more tolerant, accepting and interdependent BT community

-  To cultivate virtuous habits and mindfulness at all levels in the organization

Two different PrajnaSmriti programs are presently being run in the organization. One set of 8 and more sessions are being facilitated by Bhargavi Davar for the senior and middle management staff (in English / Hindi); and another set of 8 and more sessions are being facilitated by Kavita Saju Nair for the supervisors and the field staff (in Hindi / Marathi).

For more details, contact

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Tel: 0091-20-26441989

Bhargavi Davar


Kavita Saju Nair

Report by Swaroop Waghmare

 We at BAPU Trust, Pune organized an OPEN DAY program on 21st Jan 2016 at Oswal Bandhu Samaj Hall, Timber Market Road, between 11am – 5 pm. Over 200 people from all walks of life, partners and friends of BT, and from local low income communities, participated in the program through the day. Almas Momin (Lay counselor, BT) anchored the program. Dr. Amrit Bakhshy (Chairman, Schizophrenia Awareness Association, Dhayari, Pune), Dr. Bhargavi Davar (Director), Bharati Misal (Program co-ordinator), Mrs. Suvarna Kamble (Support Group Member, from Kashewadi), Sujit Godute (Adolescent Boys Group, Lohia Nagar) shared their views.

 Mr. Amrit Bakhshy congratulated BT, Pune for the good work. He also shared his experiences with BT for past 15 years. And he expressed BT, as a “Enlightening Lamp” in lives of people working with mental health difficulties and disabilities living in the vastis of Pune. Bharati Misal gave words of gratitude towards the community mental health volunteers and corporators who have extended their full support for BT’s work. Suvarna Kamble shared her experience of receiving care from BT, which has boosted her morale in day to day life. Sujit Gadute shared his thanks to BT for helping him build his self-confidence as a teenager. He also shared how his nature of giving care to others also developed through this work. Bhargavi Davar recalled BT experiences of last 15 years and gave all the people who helped BT. She said that “this open day is a new opening door in non-formal care of mentally challenged people”. As BT is extending its horizons in other slums in Pune she said “while working in community we got an idea that support can be thought and practiced”. Communities can be the best support despite challenges.

 A short film ‘Olakh’ was screened, made by Dharma Padalkar, where in the identity crises of a teenager was displayed due to her dark complexion. This was well resolved at the end of movie, and the director highlights other aspects of human life, especially value of creative expression. Shri. Avinash dada Bagwe (Corporator, Kashewadi) visited the program, and congratulated BT, Pune for the good work in his areas. He also expressed complete support for the future work. BT thanked him warmly for continuing support throughout our work here. Members from Schizophrenia Awareness Association, Dhayari, Pune also joined the program, and felicitated us with a gift (a wonderful card featuring a dJembe, an African drum that we use in our programs.

 In the post lunch session various activities were undertaken by the BT members:

 - Straw painting

 - Peace games – by Ratna Begri, Nazia Shaikh, Pratik Kamble, and Almas Momin.

- -Drums Circle was led by Bharati Misal and Kavita Nair.

 - A street play based on ‘Mental Health Awareness’ was presented by adolescent boys groups from the Kashewadi Bastis.

 Students of Department of Psychology, Abeda Inamdar Senior College, Pune also participated actively in the open day program. At the end breathing exercise practice was done for the closure of program. Posters on ‘Wellbeing’ and other materials on display in the hall were appreciated by one and all.

 We thank all the community members, family members, students, medical service providers, NGO service providers, ex-Bapu staff members, partners, consultants, media persons and all people who expressed friendship and solidarity to spread the word about wellbeing, incluison and mental health. We thank OSF for the financial support towards this program.


 Our MissionWe create, pilot and monitor community inclusion programs that enable the autonomy and self-reliance among persons living with a mental health issues and psycho-social disabilities. Such programs aim to connect with and expand on the aspirations and potential of low income communities, and strengthen their long term emotional sustainability and care giving abilities. We work towards enhancing and promoting the emotional well being of persons in vulnerable positions (women, poor, children) and other populations in need of psychosocial services. We create innovative programs in the community, so that the psycho-social effects of Development in the community is reduced through a diversity of skills and strategies. We create psychosocial strategies in a way that allows for a basket of modular interventions to be available, to suit the myriad needs of people and communities. We advocate to change the structural, social, legal and policy environment, so that they remain human rights compliant, just and fair to people with a psycho-social disability. We strive to create justice environments for people with psycho social disabilities.

Our VisionWe want to see a world, where emotional well being is experienced in a holistic manner, and not just as mental disease. We dream of healing environments where every person uses their own capacity to make choices, heal themselves, recover and move on.  Recovery methods will be creative, non-violent, non- -hazardous and playful.


Read more here:

 50+ Videos of the INTAR India 2016 proceedings: open here

 An Aljazeera video of the "Seher Inclusion Program", Pune open here

 Interview with Bhargavi Davar, a PodCast from "Madness Radio" open here

 Investing in Mental health: A recent report from Dasra, Mumbai open here

 "On Inclusion" Bapu Trust (2017).  A film by Aparna Sanyal open here


Seher Videos, find at


Archive Links

1    bridging-the-enormous-deficit-of-mental-healthcare-in-india : open here

 2.  "Circles of Care"  at  Satyamevajayate : open here

 3.  "Bill of Rights" at Anjali Mental Health, Kolkatta : open here

4. Bhargavi Davar in DD- Stree Shakti : open here

5. About Seher program, visit media presentation : open here