Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.
Colleges and universities were regarded as ―Ivory Towers‖ kept aloof from the society and its life. But gradually it is being realised that teachers of higher education cannot do justice to their roles and responsibilities if they do not contribute their might to the realization of national goals, fulfilment of their social commitments and be the agents of social change. In our B Ed College, the students are provided opportunities to work with the community in collaboration with NGOs. In addition to this, last year, a concentrated effort was made to empower both the teachers and the student teachers by enabling them to work with differently abled students through the Project Priyadarshini. Priyadarshini means one with pleasant appearance. We, at K. J. Somaiya College of Education, had the privilege of kindling the spark in the young minds of many visually impaired college going girls by training them in etiquette, communication skills, self managing skills and life skills, thus inculcating in them a winning attitude. The college also acquainted them with role models in order to raise their levels of aspiration and set for themselves higher goals. The project truly saw the transformation of the young participants into a more confident, determined to successfully combat the challenges of life. The project also left both the teachers and the students more enlightened and more confident about playing their role as agents of social change by making us understand the complex realities that lie behind the word ‗differently abled‘. This paper is an attempt to share our unique experiences about student staff partnership towards leadership and empowerment in order to play effectively our role as agents of social change.