Many things have been happening at pwhy and some of them point towards the indubitable yet maybe invisible reality that Chapter I of pwhy is slowly coming to a close. Most of the slums we work will eventually be relocated as metro lines extend and the dream of some becomes the doom of the other.
India is all about macro and micro realities and in order to make substantial and meaningful change it becomes imperative to address both sides of the coin. What began 7 years ago as an honest effort to empower underprivileged communities to take charge of the education of their children, has met with a fair amount of success.
A viable model was mooted, and tested successfully as drop out rates were contained 100% and the model steered by local efforts. The only element that did not quite meet the set target was sustainability as till date we could not truly seed the one rupee a day programme.
This has led me to believe that maybe the way to see it seed is to actually withdraw much of the spoon feeding and slowly position ourselves as a consultant/advisory entity. Then it will be a do or die and once again if out of all the various elements that form pwhy one emerges a winner we will be satisfied. A little radical I know but nevertheless necessary.
That is the macro level.
But the past seven years has also brought the micro level into our lives be it children needing surgery, children having no future, single mothers at the fringe of giving up and children and young adults with disabilities facing a bleak future.
For these creatures of a Lesser God we need to find a larger solution particularly has we have witnessed the total lack of social and administrative support which is at best inhuman (orphanages, homes for the challenged etc)
So as we slowly hand over power in the first case, we need to create a viable option for the later. That is what brings us to Chapter II of our journey in the shape of what I would like to call simply Planet Why: a small home in a rural suburb where we we would try to give a new lease of life to these souls. Moreover this home would have three or more activities: a refuge, education and empowerment for the local community and specialised vocational training.
As land cost is prohibitive, we are looking at a long lease option and have short listed two plots.
This brings me to the invariable question that is waiting to be asked: how will planet why sustain itself?
Here is my answer: we want to seed planet why in a village called Goyla, close to the airport and to Dwarka which is already on the metro line. With the imminent completion of several flyover/highway projects the place is ideal to create a guest house like the ninos hotel set up in cusco Peru entirely run by street children.
We are thinking of having one part of planet why as a guest house with about 6 rooms for those who do not want to transit Delhi but just have a take off point to their holiday destination. Goyla is close to the Jaipur and Agra highways. Many friends have promised us 100% occupancy.
Pwhy has taught me that nothing is impossible and no dream too large if it's intent is honest and for the good of those no one cares for.
No matter how empowered the present community we work in gets there are always some that still need us on a long term basis: Abhishek and Rahul's widowed mother who is constantly ill treated by her in-laws and made to live in a room that reminds us of the torture box of the Bridge of the River Kwai as she lives in a tin box on a fifth floor; Utpal's mother who has to one day come out into the world again, Mansi and Himanshu who saw their mother hang and their father be shot in a vendetta like operation commandeered by their maternal grandparents, Babli who in spite of her open heart surgery seems to be of no interest to her family the father being too old and a gambler and a mother to busy working or seeking greener pastures, and many of our special kids who no one really wants and last but not the least Manu for whom pwhy began.
So we begin a new journey and hope you will once again be there for us..
Labels: planet why, sustainability, two indias