I should be jumping with joy. All our class XII students have passed their examinations and this for the 8th year running. But before I could get down and savour the good news a mail dropped in my inbox informing me that one of our main donors would not be able to meet their monthly commitment for they next 4 months.
It was a huge blow and I am completely shattered. How would we manage as without that particular donation there was no way we could survive.
If I were running a business I could have locked the door and lost the key while I licked my wounds in some remote corner. But when you run a show like project why you do not have the luxury to do that. Which door do I lock and who do I send home. The little ones who come every day and spend a few hours reclaiming a lost childhood; the special ones whose only few hours of dignity are those they spend with us. Do I send my primary kids back and live with the guilt of knowing that some of them would drop out of school and become child labour; and what about the secondary kids who have just done me proud! And the foster care kids whose home is project why!
No, I cannot send anyone home or shut any door. Were I to do so, I would never be bale to look at myself in the eye. I will have to snap out of my gloom and muster all the courage I can to reinvent myself . I will need to get out of the comfort zone I had sunk in and retrieve my dusty begging bowl and beg till it hurts.
I had always been weary of big donors. They tend to make you complacent and make you forget the true essence of the work you sought to do. Running an organisation like pwhy is fist and foremost a lesson in humility. And to remain humble you need to remember that your work depends on the compassion and empathy of others. It is a one to one equation. If you forget that you risk losing everything. I wish my one rupee a day programme had worked, or rather that I had given that programme my all.
But it is never too late. We have launched a sponsorship programme that we hoe many will join. It has to be a success; 800 little smiles depend on it! So help me God!