Looking ahead

It is time to look ahead ... easier said than done particularly at a time when our vision has been clouded by recent events, and our dreams obscured by the weight of unforeseen worries. I am reminded of the words of Florence Scovel Shinn: Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.

It is imperative and essential that we at project why hold on to our vision even if at this particular moment in time things, to say the least, look bleak. It would be easy to throw up our hands and be satisfied to muddle on as best we can. I presume this would be an acceptable option if all we were thinking of was just our limited selves. But that is not the case. Any failing on our part will jeopardize too many dreams.

It is time to look ahead.

We are faced with the daunting task of ensuring that our day-to-day work goes on unhindered and at the same time garner resources for our new dream. In other words we need to raise a substantial or rather astronomical amount of funds and our track record is to say the least rather pitiful. True we are a good hand-to-mouth organisation and have always met our needs thanks to great friends and well wishers. However this will not do to meet what lies ahead.

The past few days have been spent brainstorming. The challenge: find new ways of fund raising, ways that would go beyond crisis management and would not depend on one individual. Ideas are being debated passionately and we await the results with bated breath.

I decided to take a trip down memory lane and review our past efforts, as to many, we may look like an organisation that never pondered on the issue of long time funding. I had almost forgotten our cloth bags, our chocolates, our soap, our jewels and all else, all sacrificed to a variety of alters. I had even forgotten the passion with which I had tried, sadly in vain, to push my one rupee-a-day-dream, one that sat on our site for along time but found few takers. I remember how elated I felt when after receiving an award, I had hoped that this may perhaps bring the dream closer, but soon realised that people had moved on to greener pastures. And yet how could one give up. New ways had to be found, new battles won. We had to become sustainable. And slowly planet why was conceived as perhaps the way to solve an issue that had been disturbing us for a long time....

The trip down memory lane was an eye opener. We are still faced with the challenge of ensuring that project why lives on. That is it is freed from the shackles of being dependent on one or a set of individuals. The one rupee option is one side of the coin, planet why the other.

I was recently given John Wood's book that outlines the long term vision of Room to Read. I pondered over it a long tome after turning the last page. Would it be possible for us to come up with a similar funding pattern. Sadly no! Unlike RtR we do not have tangible options that can be replicated by quantum leaps. Buildings that can bear names. And though we are in a land that boasts of perhaps one of the largest number of rich people, we are still in our infancy when it comes to parting with a few pennies for a less fortunate soul. My mind goes back to the day or rather night when we needed money for one of our broken hearts. I was at a party hosted by a 'friend' and where most of the guests were 'rich'. Still naive and unworldly, I interrupted the revelry and asked all present to part with whatever they had in their wallets to save this child. Needless to say no one came forward.

Yes we have been blessed by the number of kind hearted people the world over who have always come forward when we have sought their help and they are the ones who have made pwhy the vibrant and beautiful reality it is. But we also know that this funding model is fragile and would not withstand the test of time.

Looking ahead, what still stands in my mind as a possible way out is our planet why vision, no matter how battered it may look at this moment. It is one that can take care of our tiny yet critical responsibilities while allowing us to continue our work. It is one that can allow Manu and Champa to grow old with dignity and surrounded by love, one that can shelter any child or women in need. Our work in many ways remains intangible. No extra buildings to bear testimony of the coin received and yet for us it is invaluable.

I would be thrilled if someone could show me a way to the yet elusive but needed option to secure our morrows. I am still looking