all in a name

I was recently asked by someone why I had decided to call my project project why. It is a question I have often been asked and that I usually answer with a light: because I liked the name! But this time was different. It was almost an existential question.

If I go back in time to the genesis of the project it all began with me wanting to honour my father and create something in his memory. The obvious thing to do was to create an organisation in his name and though I would have wanted a simple name, I was landed with a long winded one courtesy the authorities! It was a mouthful and in no way reflective of what we were setting out to do. Everyone felt we needed a working name. There were many brainstorming sessions till one day almost intuitively I came up with the name: Project Why. It just sounded right and though we did try to find a meaning for the acronym it never worked, why had to remain the interrogative adverb it was.

Today after more than a decade of existence I have come to understand the real meaning of my intuitive choice. Project why had come into existence because of all the disturbing questions that needed to be answered. What was essential however was not the ability to find answers but the moral courage to ask them. Sadly many of us have lost that faculty. The world is the same for all to see yet how many of us stop and bother to ask the needed why? We all see children begging at roadsides but how many of us are capable of asking why this happens? At best we roll down our window and hand a few coins or a small treat and drive away, till the next red light. Probably we know intuitively that where we to ask that dreaded question our lives would change forever. And we are not prepared to see that happen. Once you ask a question then you have to seek answers.

And that is what project why stands for. The ability to question every situation no matter how disturbing or unsettling.