"I myself born in a interior village of Usmanabad. In a difficult situation it has no any food one time also. I struggled in a childhood. Hailing from a village in Marathawada, when I was 12 years my mother died living his father in mind the children as well as earn livelihood for the family. When some visiting friends offered to give him in a job in Pune, my father gladly agreed. Unfortunately, there friends in differed to Devidas `plight` abounded me on Pune railway station. Meanwhile I get a job in C.I.R.T. Bhosari as a labor, but I want to ensure that no one of there children goes through what I had to say. In between I met Pornima, Social worker, and together we went around to asking people to donate their junk to various orphanages. Eventually, in 1995, we started Saraswati Anath Shikshan Ashram. The work has been started with 5 children in a rental basis. At the it has a rent of rupees 500/- per month. But the situation is that no any rupee at the time. In a very difficult different situation I went to a lot of friends. In a rainy season a lot of expenses feel an illness because it was a very poor situation in a temporary shed"…
Would you save your expensive pair of shoes not to save the life of a child that fell in the river next to where you’re walking (fresh from the shoe store)? No! Really? AMAIDI’s in the Fund Raise business too! Seems to me that setting priorities is all that there is to it.
I became interested in world time scales after I was assigned a research project in the field. From that research, we ended up publishing a great article here, that covers all areas of world time. I also came across your site and thought I might pass this link on to you as a thank you for your wonderful resources. I know this article would be a great addition to your information, and I’m sure that it could help many of your users. Let me know what you think!
Strange that the masses of volunteers don’t search for ‘free volunteering’ until they find it. It isn’t out there? No one’s offering it for free? O yes, they do! But only when their expenses are covered by money paid by others. Some orgs ask volunteers ‘no fee’ but expect them to fund-raise. That kind-a- feels like using the back-door to receive the money (or much more than) that (what) was so ‘boldly’ refused at the front-door, doesn’t it?
Asking a paying volunteer if he thinks he has been unjustly paying (too much), you seldom get a straight answer. And don’t get me wrong: I really think that when pre-departure (training) is good and the volunteer has gotten all the project-related and practical information he/she needed from the org he/she had to pay, the org has done the volunteer a great service. And why not ask money for that? If costs are not recovered by any other means, that is. Mostly they are not.
What about the costs of hiring staff, paying local volunteers (occasionally or regularly), using computing power (ah, electricity bill) and .. well, I mean: there are expenses to be covered in practically anything an org does. Orgs that offer volunteering for free, how do they do it? What’s their secret?
There isn’t any. They get their expenses covered, as I said earlier, by letting volunteers fund raise ‘pre-departure’ or during/after the exposure is over. Or they manage to acquire a few corporate sponsors who take care of their expenses. I wish I had them. I would give my volunteering service free straight away. But then again. ‘Free doesn’t work’, someone told me. So I’d be probably asking a ‘token-fee’ or something like that.
The bottom line, of course is, that overseas volunteering is never free (of costs): each volunteer has to buy a flight-ticket, take care of his travel-insurance, vaccinations and ‘travel gear’. But then again - I am speaking from experience here - nearly all volunteers are travelerers or voluntourist. I mean, they come to ‘get to know India’ (in my case) AND volunteer. My apologies, one often formulates its the other way: one comes to volunteer AND (then) travel. This is one of the reasons why overseas or international volunteering can not be compared with ‘volunteering in an old age home two blocks down the road’.
AMAIDI will go global in 2014. MDG will be one of our partners in Africa, along with a few players in Middle/South-America. We’ll have to stretch up our business plan a bit by then to accommodate them all ;-)
Well, we’ve all got it splashed over our frontpages for the last couple of days: Mr.Anna Hazare’s ‘fast-unto-death’. When we look at the similarities with Gandhiji (without carrying the comparison much further, mind you), we conclude that Mr. Hazare would have easily stuck out without food for about 3 weeks on end, courtesy 'How Long Can You Live Without Food?'.
The petrified high-end politicians that gave in to Mr. Harare’s request (the first one of many most likely), were probably not aware of this fact. Although in case they are, they most probably did not react because of Mr. Hazare’s deteriorating health (he could have gone on for another 2,5 weeks without a serious threat to his life), but rather because Mr. Hazare touched a sensitive snare with the common man. Everywhere in India groups of young ‘Hazarites’ were emerging, across social barriers and educational backgrounds. Mr. Hazare’s act - on the lines of what happened when India nearly went to war with Pakistan due to Kargil - was busy gaining momentum in uniting the country under the banner ‘say NO to corruption’. And so it should be!
My son came in running with a sheet of thin, cheaply printed paper. Two-leaves, it said, was going towards a ‘shining victory’ in the Tamil Nadu elections. Mrs. Jayalalitha was CM of Tamil Nadu when I came to India for the first time, in 1990. I saw her rule replaced by that of her ‘Nemesis’, Mr. Kalaignar. No money changed hands, this morning. Ms. Jayalalitha is the ‘First Lady’ of a local party called AIADMK. Mr. Kalaignar, the current CM, is heading the DMK. A few days ago his local representative passed by our house. He was distributing Rs. 500 to all the families in our street. My wife had received this amount and showed me the money-bills. ‘Please give it back to that man’, I pleaded. ‘Why should I?’, she argued.’. He didn’t ask me to vote DMK. He said ‘Here’re a little support for your family. When the time of election comes (13 April), please remember us. So I can vote what I like and still take the money’. This is the ‘small’ corruption Mr. Hazare’s is fighting against. By putting pressure on the Central Government of India to finally let the anti-corruption law, aka Jan Lokpal Bill pass in both the houses of parliament. A JLB adjusted by two committees, one headed by a Government representative, the other by a representative of the ‘Civil Society’ aka the Indian population.
I sympathize with Mr. Hazare’s point and even see the point in him resorting to a hunger-strike. But blowing it off after a few days (no doubt starting to feel uncomfortable, but that’s the whole point, of course) and then telling the press that ‘there’s a fiercer battle ahead’ (of getting the JLB adjusted so that it ‘gets teeth’), predicts that we will probably see Mr. Harare again stop with taking food. And that, I am afraid, will devaluate his attempt to garner support amongst the representatives of the people in Delhi. But then again, Gandhi was mobilizing the Indian people nationwide and ousted the British Government by doing that. We might thus see the ouster of the Indian Government by Mr. Hazare’s supporters’ support. But .. what will we get instead?
There’s people who can bring across a message and there’s people who are the message. Pervara fits the latter category. I strongly recommend to subscribe to her blog, as I personally have not come across such powerful and relevant stuff since the days I discovered Beth Kanter and Mashable. For all of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, but are interested in Social Media: Pervara’s the way to go!
Now here’s a blog that - once in a while I stumble upon - sort of makes you breath a little deeper. And laugh at that too. When you’re out there (or out here, more appropriately) life as an ex-pat makes you forget sometimes that one should not, must not take oneself too serious all the time. But who’s to laugh along with you, if not in blunt cynicism? And being cynical (being different from observing with a keen eye) is not fun in the long run.
So in case you’re an ex-pat, regardless of the country you lost yourself in long ago or just arrived yesterday as a newbie, go ahead and try SEPAWL. It’s worth it. At least for me.
Today was ‘the' day. Parents of the children of many schools in India got the 'rank-cards' of their children. This horribly ordeal through which parents (fathers first) were put as a result of the failing attempts of their wards' teachers to keep them in line with their expectations. It's a fatal destiny in general when you're a slow learner in India.
Most slow learners - if not ending up for the wrong reasons in a school for children with ‘special needs’ (often only meant for mentally challenged children and not ‘slow learners’) - go either unnoticed (to their own utter joy until they meet with a government exam), or - which is often the case - they meet with hostility or ignorance of their teachers. Children in top-knotch Matric- or CBSE schools, are the luckiest. Are you a slow learner on an Indian government school, chances are that you are one of the first students to drop out even before the age of 7. But even in the Western ‘developed’ world, teachers struggle with the concept. Many teachers are not equipped to deal with ‘slow learners’. Heck! There isn’t even consensus about what a ‘slow learner’ is at the first place.
A child can be considered an underachiever in school and can be grouped under a generalized classification much too easily. One child cannot be grouped with a group of underachievers and be placed under one certain classification and this happens much too often in our schools. A teacher needs to be able to be aware of very specific and very personal problems that can cause a child to be considered an underachiever or a slow learner. The confusion on this topic needs to be reduced in our schools. Some teachers are just too quick to identify and also to attempt to correct learning disabilities without the proper training or knowledge on the subject.
That’s what goes on in the Western world. So should we come down heavily on Indian teachers who apart from dealing with ‘slow learners’ - often are ill-equipped (I’m not even talking about a proper motivation to become a teacher) to deal with ‘normal’ children in the first place. An excessive focus on ‘teaching aids’ on all the teacher training colleges and - of course - on memory power (‘a teacher needs to know the answer, at all times’), can not hide the enormous gap between what an Indian teacher can offer a child (or rather: a group upto 80 students in one classroom) and what an individual child needs.
Now follows the epitaph of my litany: and its a sad one, I’m sorry. My son goes to an excellent school in Puducherry. I dare to admit that it is one of the best, with a principal whom I carry up a mountain if need be. And my son’s teacher deserves a gold medal. Not one, but five. For putting up with 35 children. Every day. For many hours. But even there, with a focus on ‘special needs in every child’ my son feels lost, does not make the connection with ‘main-stream’ because he does have a different learning strategy that is hardly recognized as such. Even there. So where am I to find a school where all children feel welcome, accepted and competent?
I am thinking - no, I am planning - to start my own school. I will call it ‘Yeah! School!’. It’s the kind of place a child wants to be. Even in off-school hours. Any idea why that is so?
We’re in a social business at AMAIDI. We’re in the social business of helping out Indian charities. Well, at least most of them are. Charities. Although we’re putting our first steps in the field of ‘corporate volunteering’. More about that on a later date (hehe). Grossly speaking we’re here to help out charitable NGOs (our partners) to achieve their aims and objectives (poverty relief, for one) better than they are doing already.
About a year or two ago, I noticed that volunteers who gave (little) money to these charities, have sort of set a trend: more and more of them give. And give more money at that too. But that, in turn, has brought up the issue: should volunteers do such a thing? I mean, from the perspective of the volunteer its all good and well. But I noticed that - until this happened - partners would not discuss this topic with me (or the volunteers) in a manner that they have started doing recently. And not to the joy of the volunteers, in some cases.
'They are constantly asking me for money’. Or: ‘I’m getting sms-es that I should ask my family for funds’. Or, more covert: ‘I get the idea that they like my money more than what I am doing as a volunteer’. Well, this is not daily bread and most volunteers can handle the pressure very well, but it has put us thinking about it. We’ve come to the following conclusion:
Our Indian partners (most charitable NGOs, as I said earlier) really need money. It’s only realistic to state that in many case receiving money is more important than receiving volunteers. At least, that’s what I feel they feel about it. Still, having volunteers helping an organization out def has an impact on the longer term (and sometimes - when activities have been rather ‘eye-opening’: immediately) and should not be discarded. Nobody says that. What I am saying here is, that AMAIDI has been giving it a thought to combine the one with the other. Without the one disturbing the other (as is sometimes the case now). AMAIDI Fund Raising was born.
From being a concept, we’re now (in a team of four, one more person is needed: please apply!) heading towards a structure, a set of protocols and a suitable organization added to that to really start fund raising for selected partners that apply. We’re still in the ‘cradle phase’, but we’ll get there. I’m sure. And that would def take the burden off the volunteers’ shoulders. When larger amounts are concerned.
Today I visited Bless and together with its chairman Mr. Anthony Samy I decided that we’re going in for the launch of so called ‘micro-projects’. Small-scaled, low-cost but high impact improvements, narrated on a single sheet of ‘paper’ without a complicated budget: these are the people, this is how they have to live, this is what they need (or at least: one of their needs) and this is what it costs. And - this is the fun-part: this is what you can actually do to realize it. And giving money isn’t good enough. Well, let me put it this way: if you want, you may help implementing the project. Yes, in India. Not possible? The project will then simply carry your name. In case you’re the one (or your mum’s Rotary Club or dad’s Lions) who has funded the project in its entirety.
Who signs up?
Watch this blog, as I will shortly present you the first micro-project.
The AMAIDI Foundation - our own charity - is on Jumo, a.k.a. Social Facebook. If you’ve never tried Jumo, here’s your chance. It’s still in ‘beta’, so go ahead and criticize them. Ah, yes, and don’t forget to follow us, before leaving the site (hehe) ..
Conan O’Brien, anchor man of a TV show in the US, sported a joke (really?) in 2009 by suggesting that the founders of Twitter, You Tube and Facebook would come together to create a mega-social-media-website named YouTwitFace, dubbed ‘the future of wasting time’. True or not, movements indicate that TV will merge with computer (in as far as it isn’t a computer already and vice versa) like corporate organizations and states merge. And people. Well, some-times. Whether or not YouTwitFace is going to happen (it will def carry another name, nobody is going to take this name serious), it’s interesting to think about the possibility of us being able to spend even more time being busy on our social media platforms than we already are.
Personally I have another view: even in case a YTF would emerge, the trend will be towards linking on- to offline. Going back to the world of the living, inhabited by real people. We will not head towards a world of humans co-habiting with cyborgs or computers (Space Odysee) where the latter threatening the first because their intelligence makes them natural (?) rulers. Even though (sorry, Thierry) a friend of mine working in ‘artificial intelligence’ has assured me that this might very well happen.
It’s like the Tsunami (after the Tsunami). It never comes (anymore in our lifetime). Eventhough we know this to be true, we’re still afraid when high tide comes that a Tsunami is on the verge.
Just be nice, take genuine interest in the people you meet, and keep in touch with people you like. This will create a group of people who are invested in helping you because they know you and appreciate you.
Had a phone-call with Samvit yesterday, at around 9 pm. Samvit’s a (30 year) young Ph.D in Human Resource Management who dedicates his life towards realizing a dream: starting a school where children - except learning basic skills - are taught to acquire a deep and critical understanding about what (their) life is all about.
I felt privileged to have spent nearly an hour listening to this man, who has left his ambitions (if any) behind to ‘make it in the corporate world’. Instead, he wants to give the best of himself (and his own funds at that) in order to establish a place, a platform for children to enable them to launch themselves into a better society of which they are the participants and the makers. Laudable. Great.
Samvit needs funds (who doesn’t), in absence of which he has found a way to infuse the necessary pecunia: his own home.
I admire Samvit’s energy, his passion and his sense of direction. He is a man that knows where to go. It doesn’t bother him too much that he isn’t there yet. And even if he is not the one in person to achieve his dream in full, he will create a void that is taken by others once he will not be anymore amongst us. These others, inspired by his dream, will continue. And make his dream come true.
It is there visionaries that we need. To make it a better world. Nothing against that, is there?
AMAIDI has started a new department - one year ago, that is :-) It’s called very unsurprisingly ‘AMAIDI Fund Raising’ (any suggestions for something more cool are welcome). What we aim at is to provide a platform (and a helping hand) for our Indian partners who struggle to find funds to be able to implement their useful, common or innovative projects for the betterment of the communities they serve.
Now being a compulsive learner, I am always trying to find out better ways to reach my aim, in this case ‘finding funds for others’ (my wife does complain about this fact sometimes, she really does). Future Fundraising Now is a very handy tool indeed to get a proper perspective on what fund raising actually is. It’s more connected with the ‘feel good’ business than anything else. It’s about ‘giving your donor what he/she wants’ more than trying to ‘take whatever you can’. It’s more focussed on making your donor happy (which is very simple actually) more than constantly talking about the poor people that will be happy with your donor’s money once its been given.
Anyway, that’s for you to find out. Sure, subscribe to Future Fundraise Now. Even if you’re only mildly interested. It’s contributors (great bloggers!) are splendid authors. And NGO, you all out there: for you it is a must-read. Really.
I am not born in the digital age, but am part of it since years. Every now and then I get the remark ‘why, old man, are you so hooked up with all this?’. I don’t know. I just am. When there’s a power cut (here in India where I live and work) I feel frustrated. Not because of the resulting heat (my fans don’t yet work on solar), but because of the fact that I can’t continue on my laptap (with the perennial failing battery).
Because of all this, I am inspired by Aaron’s story. Maybe you recognize yourself in it too. Have fun..
Its not only the summer heat here in south-India that strikes me. The whole earth is getting hotter. Yes, global warming. We would almost forget its there and def something else than just the climate changing in hotter springs (at least here with us in south-India). When its so hot outside, no one really things about the other aspects of global warming, let alone the consequences (for our children and their offspring, yes, but still). Although there will always be people around who - contrary to what science has abundantly shown to be true beyond any doubt - keep proclaiming that global warming is a hoax.
Now there’s an org (stumbled upon them while looking for something interesting for this blogpost) that rallies support for the cause (mitigate global warming). Welcome 350.org. Have a look and find out yourself of what I claim is true. For you.
"350 is the most important number in the world—it’s what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Three years ago, after leading climatologists observed rapid ice melt in the Arctic and other frightening signs of climate change, they issued a series of studies showing that the planet faced both human and natural disaster if atmospheric concentrations of CO2remained above 350 parts per million. Everyone from Al Gore to the U.N.’s top climate scientist has now embraced this goal as necessary for stabilizing the planet and preventing complete disaster. Now the trick is getting our leaders to pay attention and craft policies that will put the world on track to get to 350.”
But apart from these laudable web-itiatives, its the people on the ground that really make it work. I know a man who runs a tiny organization, called ‘cema’, in a small village near Villupuram in Tamil Nadu, south India. His one and only topic: global warming. He rallies with the few women Self Help Groups that his organization garnered since cema’s inception, holding up a banner ‘action against global warming’. If only this man’s voice could be heard on the internet (and why could that not be?). He would surely make a difference, as a one-man-show can turn the world upside down when he reaches out to the millions out there ready for his message.
I applaud this man, as modern theories of leadership have clearly shown that ‘a lonely nut’ (if he treats his ‘first follower’ good) can get a crowd following him. And crowds in support of global warming mitigation is what this world needs. Now.
Visited Bless today, local NGO in Tamil Nadu (South-India) and my very first partner when I started AMAIDI in July 2006. Remember the days where more than 10 volunteers would squeeze themselves in a jeep to take them in a one-hour drive to Cuddalore Old Town where they would unload themselves to be dispersed over a range of projects, all undertaken bij Bless. How far have we come from that moment with more than 150 organizations in nearly 10 Indian states with more than 400 different project assignments connecting on average 100 volunteers per year with grass-roots initiatives in India where every extra hand counts.
Spoke with Bless’ founder and chairman Mr. Anthony Samy, who learned ‘the trade’ from a Belgium missionary in Andhra Pradesh, the founder of one of India’s first INGO’s: VRO (Village Reconstruction Organization). VRO still exists, ‘father’ Windey (as the founder was called) no more. Peace be with him.
I spoke with Anthony about ‘micro-projects’ he thinks are going to bring him funds from (small) investors who’d like to be involved in the projects they support. A very good idea, certainly appealing to our young dogs, the volunteers. I am going to publish one or two of those mp’s on Facebook one of these days. Watch out, there might be something in it for you!
SAMAJ SEWA SANSTHAN is one of the leading voluntary organizations registered under Indian Societies Registration Act XXI – 1860 working in the field of Health & Family welfare, Education, Women Empowerment Agriculture development and other Social Welfare programs in the State Uttar Pradesh. The organization was established in the year 1978-1979 with objective to develop sustainable self-reliant community through their active participation, in all our development efforts. The organization is committed to strengthen their capabilities to improve the quality of life of the people and enhance their ability that would come from education, access of good health services / practices, Agricultural production and active involvement in productive works.