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Archive for the ‘Development’ Category

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

– W.B. Yeats

I have a dream – that one day I will travel all over the world working with and helping social sector organizations achieve their goals. I would love to work with the local communities on community development and, in the process, meet local people and learn about local cultures. Life is too short to be spent at one place, interacting with a limited number of people. Using one’s skills and experiences to help others – now that’s something worth doing. One day, some day, I will do that. I will find a way to turn this dream into reality. One day. Some day.

Till then, I’ll keep my dream alive by frequently reminding myself about it. This post being the first step in this direction.

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For quite some time now, I have wanted to go to other developing countries as a volunteer. This experience will provide an opportunity to contribute to the development projects in another part of world. At the same time, it will help me connect with people in these countries at a personal level allowing me to learn about their culture while sharing with them about my own culture. This dream became more pressing after I volunteered with PMI’s Community Service Project where we helped set up a small garden in the Starlight Park Elementary School in Phoenix. We were attending a PMI volunteer leaders’ conference (PMI North America – Leadership Institute Meeting) and were fortunate to be part of this onsite volunteer activity. What an amazing experience! I learned how to sand, stain, and install a wooden garden bench. To see a rough bench surface turn into a smooth surface, making sure no splinters were left to harm the kindergarten kids, was a new experience for me. Even though it was a weekend and the students from the low-income neighborhood were not in attendance, we had the chance to meet a few of them as they welcomed us. I feel connected to the school, the students, their families, the school administration, the community, and my fellow volunteers. Isn’t it sad that when we think about USA, we think of it as a monolith where everyone is living a dream life. But such interactions allow us to see firsthand the country, its people, and their challenges. How much impact we can make if we came closer to each other and interacted as ‘human beings’ first.

Driven by this urge, a few days ago I explored the online global volunteer opportunities. However, most of them require financial input (upwards of USD 2,000 for one week volunteer visit). I did register at Global Volunteer Network (GVN) as a volunteer. I was (and still am) planning to save money to volunteer with GVN. This morning, I received an email from GVN telling me about their special holiday season gift certificate offer whereby I can ask my family and friends for support via a gift certificate to go abroad for volunteering with GVN. The deadline for this offer is Sunday Dec 14, 2014. I thought about it and decided to give it a go.

Rarely have I asked anyone for a gift as I like giving gifts more 🙂 However, asking for gift certificates for my GVN application seems worth it!

How to donate

For those who’d like to donate to enable me to volunteer through GVN, you can purchase a pre-paid GVN gift certificate via this link.

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Finished reading ‘The Habit of Winning‘ by Prakash Iyer. Now reading I have a dream‘ by Rashmi Bansal. It’s a book about the inspiring stories of 20 social entrepreneurs who found new ways to solve old problems. Looks interesting.

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Describes how some people and organizations work.. especially the NGOs..

If only we would work with each other more often!

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I keep getting these ideas, random ideas, and I say to myself: “hmm I should write about it here“. However, when I start working on my laptop, I just don’t feel like writing – anything at all. On these occasions, I am reminded of the random blog post I read sometime ago, and how I decided to write only if there is something that compels me to write.

I started reading Akhtar Hameed Khan’s book titled Orangi Pilot Project – Reminiscences and Reflections. It’s one of those books that I am reading as one would a textbook. The other one that I read this way was Banker to the Poor by Dr. Muhammad Yunus. I mark sentences, phrases and ideas that I love. It’s like learning from the masters. I wish Akhar sahib was still with us so that I could go and talk to him. More than talking myself, I would have loved to listen to him talk. People like him are so hard to find these days. His writing style is so simple and easy to understand – a key reason why I am loving his book. It’s the same with Dr. Yunus. Both of them are simple, direct, and know what they are talking about. Plus, Akhtar sahib has a good sense of humor. For example, I enjoyed his intelligent use of the words “chori” and “kamchori” in this sentence: “When my old eyes (opened in 1914) saw their [official agencies] chori and kamchori (stealing and shirking)..” (p.56) Even though the sentence refers to a very serious problem and how Akhtar sahib felt about it, it is still humorous. Sign of a master!

Akhtar sahib’s views on “Avoidance of Publicity and Fanfare”

“In the beginning all publicity must be strictly avoided. The consequences of premature publicity or any kind of early fanfare are likely to be as unfortunate as the consequences of hasty and grandiose planning. As a project grows, the intelligent public will be informed by means of accurate and well-documented reports by impartial evaluators.”

So true! I have made a mental note to self on this. So glad that we share the same view on this issue.

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