What can I do ? What, I alone can do ? I want to help, but between family and work, I just don’t have time. I have asked this question many a times and I’m sure you did too. And even If I want to help, where do i start ? Who do I help ? How do I help ? Who do I trust ? How do I know whether my money, my time and my effort is all worth it ?
Just the thought of helping someone brings so many questions to my mind, by the time I answer all of them, I might be left with just the thought or even worse no thought at all.
This is where Helping Hands or now Sahasra Foundation differs. One man, or I should say, one young man’s desire to help, one young man’s resolve to make a difference did not answer these questions but instead jumped right into solving the problems. Harish, with his enthusiasm and with an intention to help and only help, he built a team that’s equally enthusiastic and caring. For him and as a matter of fact the whole of the team, the distance didn’t matter, expertise didn’t matter, place didn’t matter, what mattered was the cause.
But this wasn’t as easy it sounds. Just having the intent to help is not enough. It’s also very important to gain the confidence and trust of those who need this help. And this in itself can be quite challenging and at times very frustrating. I haven’t been on any of the project visits, but i gather from the umpteen number of emails 🙂 in the google groups the challenges they face, the hurdles they overcome, the distances they travel, the arguments, the people they need to convince, the debates and arguments among the volunteers, the fights they fight or I should say the good fights :-).
Take 1: Pulponpally Project: This project had lot of practical challenges
- The village itself was quite far from Hyderabad making travel a big concern
- Lack of support from the villagers. The Sahasrites were dismissed as kids from the city who came to the village for a picnic
- Trying to strike a balance between the volunteers enthusiasm and the cause
- Monitoring of this project
As it’s rightly said, if you have the will, you will also find a way. Same thing happened here. Sahasra adopted a government school in the village, hired the teachers, paying salaries to the teachers, buying material for the school. With in a months time school land encroachments were cleared with help of local politicians and a fence was built from shramadhan of villagers to keep the school away from encroachments and make it a safe and secure place for the kids.
Not only did they earn the respect of the villagers but also started paying attention to what they were doing and what they were saying. The village also adopted the Echo Friendly Clay Idol for the Ganesh Celebrations on Sahasra’s insistence.
Take 2: Rain Water Harvesting Project in EME Center. I grew up in an area that was surrounded by the army officers, subedar’s, the army jawans. There was a kind of an aura around the army men that commanded respect, pride that automatically translated into a sense of fear. There was always an invisible wall that would prevent Civilians from socializing or even interacting with the Army. EME Center happens to be the training center for the army personnel. It’s in this training center and amidst such a backdrop, that Sahasra engaged with the army officers, the colonel’s and introduced them to the subject matter experts in rain water harvesting. Building such synergies is extremely important and Sahasra was able to do this convincingly. They even contributed financially to the success of this project. Now there are talks of a phase II for this project.
I could go on with the rest of the projects they have adopted, but in every single project, there were challenges that the team managed to take them head on, work through the hassles and come out stronger than ever. The team has a great mix of the young, the exuberance: the experienced: the leaders: the thinkers but yet at the end of the day they were all volunteers who were proud to be part of Sahasra.Sahasra just completed 5 years and I sincerely hope they carry on to achieve bigger milestones and keep inspiring with their impact and outreach ! So congratulations Harsha (=Harish, the man behind Sahasra) and to the entire team of Sahasra.
- Every milestone you reach, I hope you rest for a little while only to reset yourself and aim for the next milestone
- Every anniversary you celebrate, I hope you increase the number of volunteers you celebrate with
- Every project you initiatie, I hope it becomes self sustainable and the beneficiaries are part of it
To know more about Sahasra: click here