“Serve others without expectation. Help those who really need your help; loving and caring for them as your family. We are One Family under God.”
Every month Global Peace Youth USA features upstanding young leaders from across the country. Srijana Bhandari, a student at Borough Manhattan Community College, earned her place as our July Featured Leader through her vast service experience and passion for moral and innovative leadership.
We spent time with Srijana to learn more about her story.
“I was in grade 3 when I came to the city, leaving my mom and my family behind to live with my brother,” Srijana reflected on her time with her brother saying, “He worked hard and supported me in each and every step I took. I learned what sacrifice and living for someone else was. His good qualities, like good leadership, as a good parent and a supportive brother, had a great impact on me. I deeply respect his love and care towards me without any expectations.”
“What if we could serve people; provide them unconditional love, care and support them without any expectation, and creating no space for jealousy, hatred, and revenge? We could treat everyone like my brother treated me as his family. Then, I think, everyone in society could establish themselves as a moral and innovative leader.”
We asked Srijana to share in her own words why moral and innovative leadership was so close to her heart:
“Being a leader does not mean you are above others, a good leader is someone who works with the team to make it even better. Learning from my brother, I realized that the more practical you are, the better a leader you turn out to be. My brother was the best example of a moral and innovative role model.” Srijana praises her brother, saying it was his attitude of living for others and his family that made him such a good leader, “But what if we have the same feelings for everyone in our society? What if we could serve people; provide them unconditional love, care and support them without any expectation, and creating no space for jealousy, hatred, and revenge? We could treat everyone like my brother treated me as his family. Then, I think, everyone in society could establish themselves as a moral and innovative leader.”
Srijana coordinated a community park cleanup project near her high school in 2008. “I can’t express the happiness that I felt after finishing (the project) to give real meaning to the park,” she said, “It made me realize that doing something better for others, for the society or good deeds makes me happy.” This month’s featured leader didn’t stop there. She would go on to participate in Global Peace Youth events in Nepal as well as taking the initiative to bring together people to fundraise and serve a local orphanage, where they originally planned to teach supplemental math and English, before they learned the true impoverishment experienced there. “We visited there, but the situation of those children was worst that we never expected,” Srijana explained, “We thought of giving some classes but they were in need of something else; good food and some stationary and other basic necessities. My friends and I, we decided to raise some funds from our own school and provide them with those basic necessities. And we were able to make it. The smiles that I saw on those little brothers and sisters’ faces after providing them with those materials was priceless. I continued to visit that orphanage regularly and spend time with them until I got a visa to the USA for my higher education.”
Srijana shared a last bit of advice for other young people striving to make a difference saying, “I believe you can be a good leader on your own if you just try being a good human being first.” She encourages others to not necessarily focus on being a model, but instead, “Serve others without expectation. Help those who really need your help; loving and caring for them as your family. We are One Family under God.”