These words dropped in the mailbox this morning: "I am just about to lose my patience here with ..... I don't understand what their problem is - seems like they just want to dissect each issue to pieces forsaking the larger picture at hand."
They were written by a supporter trying to harness some help for pwhy from a funding organisation.. Unlike many pwhy supporters who have never been to see us but still have found us worthy and extended generous help, this friend had been to pwhy and spent time with us..
Welcome to the world of funding organisations and their excruciating paper work.. Welcome to a world where trust and giving have been clouded by extreme caution bordering suscpicion..
Some time back words like these use to infuriate me.. now they make me smile, though a sad smile.. I have diligently answered questions and filled forms while trying to softly share my concern and views.. I have also watched with detached amusement those who have been sent to evaluate us, counting children to meet the mentioned figure.. this in spite of my having explained that ours is an after school centre for children who sometimes leave, where the numbers can vary according to season, and holidays and festivities...
Education, development, awareness are all issues that make sense only if one can gain the trust of the people and to gain that trust one sometimes has to make course corrections and changes.. Solutions are not right if they cannot transcend time and space and that is why we have been doggedly trying to evolve a model which can be self sustained, not only where funds are concerned, but in the realm of skills and resources, keeping the costs to a bare minimum..
So we run with local staff who often to not have the skills to meet the complex formalities of many funding organisations.. though they do wonders with the children. For us getting someone to do that would equal the cost of setting up two primary extensions!
People still laugh at my rupee-a-day funding fantasy.. but it is one I do not give up on and find myself sometimes dreaming of the day when many such centres will exist and will be funded by local people: the parents, the shopkeeper, the flat resident, the local businessman.. and what makes me hold on is the sight of little Vishal counting his cars painstakingly in an environement where is childhood is safe