Hello everyone! I am Monica and I work as a volunteer with the Administrative branch at The YP Foundation. Over 150 volunteers at The YP Foundation are raising funds and running in the Great Delhi Run on 21st Nov to show support for the causes that TYPF works for; imparting education and life-skills to urban slum children, HIV/AIDS, gender and sexuality, arts, governance, film-making and RTI. I am one of them.
I began my fundraising efforts and registered for the Concern India marathon on 28th of September.
Fundraising for the marathon at first seemed like a daunting task as I set such a high goal for myself. I played safe at first and started with my family members. Their support and contributions of 7,500 is what got me to believing that I could actually reach my target. I then broadened my view to my neighbors and college friends and am now comfortably close to my goal. I want to share an incident that truly touched my heart and in fact inspired me to work for a cause, that has always been very close to my heart.
One Tuesday morning I was talking to a few friends outside college about how The YP Foundation works for underprivileged children by educating them about life skills and helps them with academics when a 12 year old girl interrupted me to ask me “kya aap in paison se hum jaise bachon to padhai karate ho?” I thought it was cute and I smiled and nodded in affirmation to which she very dedicatedly said, “mera naam Meghna hai, main bapu dham basti mein rehti hun, mein bhi appke kaam ke liye dus rupeeye dena chahti hun.” This moment not only changed the way I looked at raising funds for The YP Foundation but also gave me a whole new perspective about donations. I was moved by the generous and kind thought of the girl who donated her money to a complete stranger based only on a promise and hope in an endeavor to help other children just like her own self.
It led me to ask myself a simple question, which now, I would like all of you, reading this blog to ask yourselves-’if that little girl, with no idea of how this world functions, who’s family struggles everyday for survival, could dare to dream, is it not our duty to make every possible effort to make her dream come true?”
When I tell myself that my work in The YP Foundation is centered around music, the tiny voice in my head replies with a “Say what?!”. When I attended the orientation, I was certain I would be working on a project revolving around human rights and the arts, but I didn’t expect myself to become a part of a team that provides incredible platforms for budding artists and educates young people considering a career in the music industry.
Thus, began the quest to raise funds through Concern India for our project, Silhouette, a branch in The YP Foundation, which incorporates various aspects of human rights with the music industry in India.
When I heard about the fundraising, we were asked to choose our target amount, I, very ambitiously, chose Rs.10, 000. Two weeks into the fundraising, I cursed myself for aspiring for that amount and found myself in a fix. Desperation and absolute determination lead me to send text messages in bulk to all my ‘rich’ friends who might have ‘richer’ contacts. Also, I decided to go door to door in my neighborhood. Along with personalized photocopies about The YP Foundation and Concern India, I went with all smiles to people I knew would definitely give me some money. I was this certain because, well, they have seen me ‘grow up’! I tried my luck at a few houses whose residents didn’t know me and all I got was suspicious looks and apologetic no. I think a few of them might have thought of me as a salesperson. In my little door to door journey, I managed to collect Rs.700 from six houses in two days, spending more than an hour at each house munching Marie biscuit and making small talk with the aunties and uncles.
Then came Durga Puja. The first day of durga puja hosts the traditional Ananda Mela where people put up food stalls. Yes you guessed right, I put a food stall at my local durga puja. A bake sale. I managed to collect Rs.2000!
But I still had a long way to go to reach my target amount. So I decided to contact people I knew who worked in companies. First step was to shortlist these people. Second was to send out emails and get hold of phone numbers of people who might be able to help. After a week of a million emails and a dozen more phone calls, I managed to get one company to donate. Not only was this a personal success, it also made me realize that just a week’s work could get us a corporate sponsor and if all the members collected this amount, then we would be able to achieve our goals very smoothly.
I learnt that money is the key blood supply to all our goals, but then it’s the skill and the sincerity, which can be seen in every member of The YP Foundation, that aids in the accomplishment and successful implementation of our work and duties as the young people in our society. It’s the process and not the end award that really makes us grow, and raising funds for The YP Foundation brought my closer to my project’s objectives and my passions.