Profile: Leena Lavanya
Leena has received the BWA Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award

Charisma
Possessed with boundless energy and enthusiasm, vision, compassion and a winsome, attractive personality, Leena Lavanya is an exceptional person with an encouraging word for all. Leena is a remarkable young Indian woman living and working in Andhra Pradesh, India. Few people command the love and respect of the people with whom they work, as does Leena. Expectant and approving eyes follow her as she walks among the people in villages where she spends much of her time. A throng of children accompany her almost everywhere she goes. Spending time and visiting with her is an inspiring experience that will challenge you for life.
Heart
Yet Leena would vigorously deny such accolades. She is an essentially humble person whose overwhelming desire in life is to serve the poorest of the poor in south-central India. She does not glide among her people like some mystical saint, rather, she gets her hands dirty, kneels in the dust, cleanses the wounds and wipes away the tears. Her own tears sometimes mingle with the tears of those who suffer, yet there is always a smile for, and laughter with, all who cross her path.
 
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Leena Lavanya
 
Beginnings
From an early age, Leena had family members who were outstanding models of service to the poorest and marginalized in society. She has had the resolve and opportunity to go well beyond her role models. In Indian society, a first beloved child will sometimes be cared for, not by the parents, but by grand-parents. As a small child she was fortunate to be entrusted to grand-parents for her up-bringing, and they were wonderful people and excellent role models. As a child, she enjoyed the spacious, leafy grounds of a seminary campus in Ramapatnam, close to the sea, where her grandfather, B.M. Moses, served as Principal. He was a man, recognized internationally who studied for a time in Chicago, and who cared for the poor in his area, sparking an initial flame in Leena's heart for the marginalized and destitute people of India.

 
Family
Leena has been fortunate having a caring and talented family along with non-family members who are completely supportive of her compassionate ministries and who themselves make a strong contribution to the ServeTrust programs. Her parents, siblings, cousins, have all been involved, and without that encouragement and solidarity, Leena would not have been as effective as she is.

 
Work Ethic
Her work among HIV/Aids patients, sex workers, prisoners, leprosy sufferers, street kids, the aged and frail and unemployed young people has been well documented, yet hardly can do justice to the scope and quality of Leena's work. She not only administers this large social enterprise, she is totally hands on, knowing the names and circumstances of all who come within her area of work and displaying a level of love and concern, distinguishing herself from most care-givers. It matters little whether they are young or old, sick or well, rich or poor, Christian, Hindu or Muslim, respectable or social outcasts, Leena treats every person as if they are most important person on the planet.

 
Communication
Though most comfortable and happy when working among the poorest people, Leena interacts effectively with Indian government officials, overseas guests and those who might by force of personality, through position or possessions intimidate others. Similarly, when travelling overseas, Leena is poised and confident when speaking about her work to crowds of people. She always leaves people totally impressed with the work she does and the charismatic person she obviously is.

 
Vocation
Unable to take her place to study medicine at university because of financial constraints, Leena became a school teacher, and taught biology in a local college until the demands of her own ServeTrust work caused her to relinquish that career. To fund her rapidly escalating ministries, Leena has occasionally worked part-time as a teacher at largely inconvenient hours but a necessary undertaking, in her view, to ensure the continuation at that time, of a ministry to needy people. Leena has never only relied on contributions from outside. She has experimented, generally to good effect, with various revenue producing schemes to help fund the work, including, for many years, running a herd of goats, and establishing a sewing school and a plate making cottage industry to develop alternative means of income for sex workers looking for another way of life.


 
Leena
Leena Lavanya
"Walking the Walk"
   
... we do because someone must