Join Leaha Mattinson and Greg Bird as they speak to Yugandhara Lad, former Mrs. India International and present-day philanthropist extraordinaire about altruism, education, war, and peace.
04.42 – 04.47: “Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.” (Greg)
07.19 – 07.30: “Everything that we do is for the society… we should contribute towards the society whatever little bit we can… because there are so many underprivileged people out there who need us.” (Yugandhara)
13.43 – 14.21: “It’s a very alarming concern and I think the government should and is probably… bringing in a lot of policies that might revolutionize the Indian farmers but it’ll gradually happen… it’ll take time because India’s population is huge – it’s 1.3 billion and to administer all of them… with different policies, it’ll definitely change but eventually and gradually. So, [I’m] hoping for a good future for Indian farmers.” (Yugandhara)
22.36 – 22.51 “Jesus or Christ consciousness is all about being compassionate and kind and turn the other cheek and the sacrificial lamb. Shiva is about being compassionate, kind and pure truth, right action in the present moment.” (Leaha)
25.34 – 25.45: “To spread good in the world, we need to collaborate. It’s not one effort here, one effort there. The more we work together, for this common good, I truly believe that can start to move mountains.” (Greg)
31.37 – 31.53: “There are 2 categories of families in the slum – one which keeps producing kids so that… they could help them earn more income and the other is… illiterate about… reproduction.” (Yugandhara)
41.00 – 41.05: “If there isn’t a war going on in the world, there’s somebody trying to start one because it’s a big business.” (Leaha)
42.56 – 43.16: “I believe that when you are truly doing something for someone else, things just happen… There’s this whole universe that wants us to do and probably… God has given us that role on earth to do something for someone else.” (Yugandhara)
52.22 – 52.35: “The sanctity of life, the preciousness of life, the preciousness of these children is our responsibility as adults, it’s absolutely our responsibility as human beings to protect the little ones because they can’t protect themselves.” (Leaha)
56.59 – 57.07: “Each and every person… goes through ups and downs and it’s the downs that you really need to… fight back and get up and rise.”
How the crown shook things up, literally (05.00)
On 25th April 2015, Yugandhara Lad was crowned Mrs. India International. The same day, a massive earthquake struck the neighbouring country of Nepal, killing close to 10,000 people. Yugandhara decided to use the power of her crown to collaborate with NGOs in providing aid to the afflicted. The experience shook her too, listening to stories of personal loss and “walking on buried dead bodies”.
Saving the world, one farmer at a time (8.23)
Yugandhara went on to work with an NGO which helped Indian farmers since farmer suicides due to debt had become rampant. As an environmental engineer, she designed an irrigation system in a small village which helped bring a stable water supply to 30 neighbouring villages. She also worked to raise awareness about Indian farmer suicides which make up 11% of all suicides in this agricultural country.
Sowing the seeds of financial planning (17.32)
Greg highlights how debt can become insurmountable, in the case of the Indian farmers, driving them to suicide. His team of advisors works to help people understand bad, good and better debt and ensure the right cash flow to take care of the debt and daily expenses. He recommends working with a financial advisor, no matter where you are in the world, to help navigate out from under the mound of debt.
The education of Shiva (18.29)
Yugandhara shares an experience she had recently when driving her car. At a traffic light, a cute girl popped up at her window and began drawing a smiley face with the dirt on the pane, unaware of the eyes watching her from the inside. When Yugandhara rolled her window down, she was taken aback but told her that her name was Shiva and that she would love to go to school if she could. This inspired Yugandhara to work with another NGO on education in four of Mumbai’s slums.
Slumdog Millionaire close to the truth says Yugandhara (21.26)
Leaha brings attention to the cause of human trafficking and addiction common in slums, and how it would impact a girl like Shiva, the namesake of the God of right action. Yugandhara adds that the work they do with these children is to help them along the path of right action, to rise above the depravity of that existence. She recounts stories of murders and dreams of careers in medicine, both existing together in the slums.
Reaching a wider network of students (31.04)
Yugandhara was not surprised that out of the 6000 children they distributed educational kits to, not many of their families showed an active interest in community development. She is saddened by this, but it also inspired her to do more beyond the slums. She wants to reach out to the villages in India which haven’t been able to access education during the lockdown due to a lack of phones, computers or the internet.
Make your money matter (33.18)
Yugandhara says compassion is a great resource, and enough to make a difference. Greg explains that a lot of wealth transfers could be done more strategically to contribute to important causes, instead of being leached through misassigned taxation. With proper estate planning and corporate giving, he says, money can be redirected to better places and help you save on income tax. Reach out to Greg to find out how!
War, Inc. (39.45)
Leaha speaks to the fact that income tax is fuelling war efforts, even though many people like to believe otherwise. She urges you to “withdraw yourself from the fiction of continuing to support that tax effort” and coming into your own as an integrated human being instead of dissociating from the truth. She asks people to work on showing compassion and taking steps that help themselves and others.
The business of doing good (41.30)
Yugandhara met the people with whom she began her NGO through BNI (Business Network International). She finds working collaboratively brings successful outcomes for every project and they are slowly working their way through all their goals. Greg seconds that by citing one of BNI’s values which is givers gain, and that this organization is changing the way the world does business.
How the light gets in (45.04)
Leaha says that for those who live in unimaginable conditions, education could be the beacon of change. Tearing down libraries and burning books is the first action the winners of war take to rewrite history, so teaching the children to regenerate their lives is important. “People need to have inspirational mentors that they can see doing that work in order to do that work”, she enthuses.
Stay in touch! (49.50)
LinkedIn is the best way to connect with Yugandhara, whose name means the leader of the era. She signs off with a song that inspires her, Nanhe Munhe Bachche, which speaks about children holding their destiny in the palms of their hands.
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