The old adage—dream big or go home—certainly applies to LF’s vision of cities and communities becoming playgrounds instead of battlegrounds. Farfetched, outrageous, impracticable, might all be adjectives attached to this vision…unless Margaret Mead, who we quoted last month, is correct.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Here is another example of one of those leaders Mead is imagining—this time in Delhi.
In 2007, Catalyst Leadership Foundation was born out of Abhishek Gier’s deep dive into one of Delhi’s poorest areas. Amid severe poverty, Abhishek also encountered an abundance of grace as he built relationships with the children of that neighborhood. This, he decided, is what the Kingdom of God looks like in all of its sharp-edged glory. So he and his wife, Angelika, said yes to Jesus’s call to seek justice, defend the oppressed, and take up the cause of the orphaned- regardless of the consequences.
Catalyst’s big idea was to connect local leaders with neighborhoods like the one Abhishek and Angelika first encountered and change things from the grassroots up: a unique approach within the caste system of Delhi. Through these connections—powerful to vulnerable; young to old; religious to nonreligious—Delhi is beginning to be relationally rewired.
One of the particular projects built by Catalyst and its partners to rewire the city is an initiative that rescues girls and women from a life of poverty and sex trafficking. Catalyst’s work provides everything from education to employment opportunities to a supportive community—offering a future previously unthinkable.
Searching to build organizational capacity and drive further change in their city, Catalyst became a member of the LF network in 2008. A decade later, Abhishek describes the LF approach and wheel of change as exactly the tonic Delhi needs: a focus on leadership, support from a global community, and an emphasis on working together to address a city’s greatest challenges. Because of his journey, Abhishek now coaches other LLFs in Southeast Asia.
Beginning with seeing grace in street children to now coaching others, Abhishek is one of the reasons LF is confident that cities are becoming God’s playgrounds. Investment in LF is an investment in leaders like Abhishek to “change the world” into playgrounds.