Wednesday, October 26, 2011

1650 : To give or to give up


Yesterday - a colleague of mine was explaining passionately about parikrma schools (http://www.parikrmafoundation.org/) - a school for the underprivileged that believes even "they" should have access to the best.

For doing this, they do more for less - as in they would have a school just about comparable to a modern iconoclastic school - with less than 30 students per class...get the drift....versus a normal NGO “upliftment” school with 100 students per class and shabby loos, greasy food and the ilk.

The more I understood of parikrma the more I knew of what flavour of philanthropy I enjoy..which is?

For me, philanthropy has always been about “driving change” and not the more commonly understood “supply necessities”. Supplying what they need is still assuming that they are children of a lesser god who need a dole. “Change” on the other hand empowers them to fight against the grain of their circumstances. (Ponder on this philosophically, though this looks like a minor technicality - the devil as always is in the detail :-))

Both spousey and I have worked at NGOs in some informal capacity and based on what I have heard and seen so far - I nurture a deep omnipresent suspicion of everything in that space.

I hardly do any charity though I think I can afford to. I have instead for years consistently invested in rustic (and rural) art, have always bought fair trade products, and have always invested in organic for my own sake.

My view is if you invest in traditional arts, you will not just help grease the economy, you will do your child a favor by leaving a legacy and more importantly by keeping the art alive. (My biggest fear is we are going to create a world where our children only see urban monkeys dabbling with their steel caged toys.)

My view on this so far is - buy fair, encourage art, f@@k the ballsy NGOs....and the world will probably turn out very alright.

* if it is not clear, just to clarify, I like the idea of parikrma immensely. It's philosophical bearings are refreshingly right. Someday I definitely want to work in that space.


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