Context:In December of 2012, about 55 communityorganizers from around India met to deepentheir understanding of Giftivism in Pune,India.
The 3-day gatheringanchored around 3P’s:• practices for innertransformation• projects forexternal impact• platforms for socialchange
At the very end of the retreat, each of theparticipants received an envelope titled"Small is Beautiful" containing 5000 Rupees(100 USD) to go out into their communitiesand spread some love using this amount.
To make this gift more meaningful, a fewcreative constraints were put in place:
Meals on Wheels – Prem CoelhoPune, Indiamaprem911@gmail.comProject Description• Deeply pained by the plight of the homeless, Prem was inspiredto start Meals on Wheels, a volunteer driven initiative to preparelove filled meals for the homeless once a week.• There is no centralized kitchen and every week differentvolunteers offer their kitchen for the cooking.• After cooking the meal, the volunteers sit in silence and sendtheir blessings into the world. Then they drive around the streetsand offer the meal to whoever looks like they need it.• Prem encourages the volunteers to engage thru conversationswith the homeless as this is a simple way to reconnect with thehumanity within each person.Stories• “One cold winter day, we wanted to hand out blankets along withfood. When the shopkeeper got to know of our intentions, hegave us a discount as well as some extra blankets as hiscontribution!”• “Recently my house maid volunteered her kitchen for us to cookfrom as an expression of her solidarity. Very touching to see howpeople of limited means express generosity.”Personal Impact / Next Steps• Requests from others to start their own programs in variousplaces around the world• Age range of current volunteers – 2 yrs old to 80 yrs old!• Dream is to scale the Meals on Wheels as a daily activity overtime, we need to build trust network first over time• Will find an effective way to share stories and pictures via a blogor website as well as social media
Wisdom Crafts – Sonal Agarwal andKrupali WaradePune, Indiakrupaliwarade9@gmail.com, email@example.comProject Description• Sonal and Krupali pooled in their 5000 rupees fund to work oncreating handcrafted gifts of art and wisdom.• Their dream: “To spread joy in the world by creating art pieceswith wisdom messages, and then gift them forwardanonymously.”• In the recent past they have put wisdom messages on diversepieces like rocks, bookmarks, diaries made from recycled paper,cards from old wedding invites, art frames, etc..Stories• Sonal: “I wanted to pay forward this experience of employing artas a mindfulness practice with my mother and her friends. Oncea month we have an “Art Funday” where I have startedfacilitating these art circles in my home where we reuse andupcycle waste materials with my mother and around 20 of herfriends. It is amazing to see the changes that this art activity hasbrought about in them as earlier they would only end upgossiping when they met.”Personal Impact / Next Steps• Krupali: “I love drawing, painting, writing and craft. Whatever Ido, I do with a lot of love and whoever receives these handmadegifts feel very happy too. Its been an amazing experience.Seeing the way people react i feel so much more inspired tomake a lot more handmade gifts. I want to keep this going!”
Trust Library – Harsh GuptaKolkata, Indiaharshpahs@gmail.comProject Description• Harsh: “I had gone to a friends place for the first time and saw awardrobe full of books sitting idly catching dust. When I receivedthe gift of the 5000 rupees, the seeds of the Trust Library weresown and I decided to initiate a gift library of inspirationalbooks. I hoped that the library would encourage the freemovement of books between the community and inspire folks”Personal Impact• Everyone has their own dharma, some give and some receive.People need not do both.• People were a bit afraid of picking a book on their own, but whengiven with assurance and lots of love, they all read the bookswith joy.• Many folks have contributed money to buy more books (someeven anonymously), many more have contributed their muchloved books, some have contributed with more book suggestions• I realize that giving is much more than giving of possessions andmore of ourselves.Next Steps• Harsh liked the spreading smiles through this Trust library somuch that he wondered how to seed this idea across the variousAwakin circles around the world. So he prepared small packetsof seed books and sends them to new meditation circles to seedtheir own journey of melding theory with practice.
Gift Restaurant – Rakesh MalaniHyderabad, Indiarakesh_malani@hotmail.comProject Description (Rakesh’s words)• Went to a nearby snack place (average snack cost was about 30rupees) where we agreed with the owner for letting us foot thebill for next several customers.• When presented with no bill, each and every customer wassurprised... and each one of them enquired about who waspaying for their food... When directed by the owner in ourdirection, everyone came to talk to us to understand why wewere doing it.• Imagine kids saying that we are practicing generosity andspreading love... everyone was moved beyond words!! Lots ofsmiles, words of encouragement, hugs, high fives, peoplewanting to join us became the norm that evening. Theatmosphere suddenly had become festive. We were makingfriends in a hurry and feeling the one-ness with everyone.• Included whole family in the exercise and many others cameand offered money as wellPersonal Impact / Next Steps• Rakesh had offered a short-term bridge loan of 75,000 rupees(1500 USD) to a colleague some 18 months ago that he had failedto return. While he originally kept the pressure on, he was movedby the gifting exercise. Returning home, he told the guy to treat it asan unconditional gift from a friend and that if he so wished, he couldpay it forward in future to others in need.• Rakesh has himself become more involved with philanthropy,gifting a cheque for 7.5 lacs (15000 USD) to facilitate buying 30acres land in Africa for sustainable livelihoods... a land that hemight never see... for people that he might never see.
Compassion for Animals – Kapila RamakrishnanBangalore, Indiakapilaramakrishnan@gmail.comProject Description• The flow fund of Rs. 5000 was used for Paru (the dog’s) surgeryand recuperation. But the incredible experience it gave us and thekindness it awakened in the auto driver was priceless!!• This dog is a stray that had a massive tumor growth that wasidentified by a nearby vet• Kapila and family took great pains to get the dog to the hospital –along the journey was their auto driver, who could not believe theeffort shared for a stray dog• After 3 hours of auto drivers time, he himself operated on gift basisand asked for no specific chargePersonal Impact / Next Steps• Kapila will share stories of random acts of kindness byanimals and enclose Rs.100 (with a note) inspiring people touse the money to perform acts of kindness towards animals• This act of generosity has rekindled Kapila’s dream of creatingHappy Haven, a sanctuary where nature, animals and humanbeings coexist and heal each other. She is actively looking tomanifest this dream with powerpoint and all!
Random Acts of Kindness – Bhumi BhanushaliMumbai, Indiabhumibhanushali@yahoo.inProject Description“The intention was to start a smile revolution. I wanted to engage inrandom acts of kindness and engage many others in the same too.”Stories (Bhumi’s words)• Started with gifting favorite books with personal notes• Then spent Rs.500 for a smile stall called „smile space‟ that wehosted for 2 days during our college fest and brought small gifts& flowers which were further being tagged anonymously bycollage peers. Over 500 people directly tagged with kindness.• It wasn‟t easy to decide what exactly do with the money keepingin alignment with its purpose and I couldn‟t come up withanything particular to do with it.. so decided to just go with theflow.• Lastly we distributed fresh lime juice amongst the watchmen andguards as a gesture of our gratitude for their services.Therewere smiles as well as tears all around.Personal Impact / Next Steps• “Inspired by the feelings of joy we experienced doing randomacts of kindness, a couple of other friends joined me incelebrating a friends 23rd birthday doing 23 unique acts ofkindness. Video”• Making small acts a regular part of her life to share broadly
Name: Lakshmi RamamurthyLocation: Pune, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgI decided to use my 5000 Rs gift to buy blankets and gift them the homeless people on the streets asit was an extremely cold winter. On 25th January 2013, my husband and kids set off at 9.30 pmwith 35 blankets, looking for people to give the blankets away along with some old clothes andold shoes.We stopped at a bridge near the railway station where there was a person sleeping on thepavement, covered in a cotton blanket. I took the blanket to the person and as I neared theperson, I saw that the person was shivering inside. Still unsure who it was or how many wereunder the blanket, I just covered the person. Immediately the person stuck his head out, and itwas a really old man who was shivering.We exchanged a very powerful moment. I asked him his name. He said it was Prabhakar. He wentback into his blanket and I walked away moved and happy.The next stop was at a signal outside a local college and the remaining blankets, old clothes and oldshoes were all absorbed by the needy.
Name: NeetiLocation: Pune, India(e): email@example.comFirst I gifted Rs.1000 to an old gardener-women in my office to bear her medical expenses as sheherself had undergone a heart surgery. Rs. 1000 was footed for her medicines that she neededevery month. We developed a great one-to-one relation post this tag.Next, I bought hand-gloves for garbage collectors and distributed them on the road side where everi found them collecting garbage with their hands. They were happy and even now i see themusing these regularly. 15 hand-gloves distributed and cost Rs.1000/- Nowadays, we exchangepleasantaries on and off whenever we cross each otherI tagged 20 bird-feeders and distributed them at the Moved by Love retret in Ahmedabad retreat toall. Thought of extending goodness with the birds too. (Cost Rs. 2000/-)Anoynomously paid for a friends mobile bill for Rs.250/-.Small acts of random kindness were done as sharing cold sugar cane juice with labors on the roadside, or with a weary traveler or with a salesman sitting on the roadside selling his stuff. Thesmile on their face "SAID IT ALL".
Name: Parag SavlaLocation: Pune, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgHarshs Library idea was rather inspiring so I was motivated to share some of my favorite books, andfelt I should help with some funds so that he could use them to share either requested books orother books that he felt people would benefit from. I had already started procuring some booksthat I wanted to share with "fellow pilgrims" at Urban Ashram so this was a beautiful, andtimely opportunity.Sitting in my doctors office it is readily apparent that many of his patients in that particular clinicare financially challenged. The doctor is a very simple man and serves with great compassionand diligence, and has intentionally chosen to serve in a very needy area. I thought it would bewonderful to have him share this money with people who could truly benefit from it. Thus Icreated 17 envelopes with Rs. 200 each and asked him to pass it to his patients as he deemsappropriate. I sat in the office to watch the ripples. The person who received the first enveloperefused to accept it as she was feeling very awkward about this. I felt, and confirmed that itwasnt pride at play here. It was not perfectly clear to me as to why it was declined but thedoctor insisted that she takes it (considers it prasad) and uses it towards a blood test that sheneeded, and he prescribed. She took it and it was certainly an interesting experience toobserve that someone who clearly did not have too much money was also so reluctant to takeit. I did not observe all the envelopes being distributed because it was a slow night for thedoctor. However, just knowing how the doctor serves these people I know that the money willbe well distributed. My children and mother also witnessed, and were part of all this.
Name: Parag Savla(contd)For the 3rd part, my daughter and I decided to buy some ice-cream, and Daabeli (a little bit likeWada Pav) and gift it to strangers. In addition, we thought it would be cool to gift Daabeli tothe folks who we got the ice-cream, and ice-cream to the folks we got the Daabeli from.However, the Daabeli walas were too busy with a steady wait so there was not chance of thembeing able to enjoy the ice-cream. So we decided to simply tip them with a little cash but hestrictly refused saying this was his own business. I could be wrong, but I did not sense any pridehere. We wanted to insist that we gift them something in addition to giving him our business, sowe bought 2 candy bars for the two folks and gave it to them. Again, the main person protestedbut my daughter insisted and left it on his cart. He smiled, almost rolling his eyes, but youcould see the surprise, and appreciation on his face. Many of the other folks we shared thesegifts with were surprised and almost didnt know how to react / respond. All in all, it was abeautiful and enriching experience for my daughter and me.Thank you very much for this opportunity.
Name: Beena MansharmaniLocation: Pune, Inda(e): email@example.comFor some time now, I feed one meal everyday to a needy person on the street so I have reallystarted noticing how people live on the streets. When I received the gift of the 5000 Rs, Idecided to tag the homeless with something which can help them. I remember once going inthe cold on the bike with a thick jacket one early morning and complaining about how cold it isuntil I saw a man who barely had any clothes on him. Being winter I decided to give them awarm sweater and I thought milk would be really good for the children.I had to make a couple of trips to tag sweaters and milk as it was not easy to find the right peopleon the street and I had to make sure it really goes to the people who need it and will makeproper use of it. Every time I took a different friend or my sister and thought this may shiftsomething in them. I also made some conversation with them as to knowing their name, aboutwhere is their family, sending them some good wishes, sometimes with and sometimes withoutwords and wishing them a happy new year. There were so many different kinds of people I met,some very lonely, some people being in the same family but still didnt know how to shareamong themselves and that’s totally understood looking at their condition, some insane peoplewho don’t understand anything out of which for few it was so difficult to even acceptsomething as these people are lost in their own world, few very old people in a very sickcondition but still on the roads to beg so they can have something to eat. Before giving thesweater I always asked everyone whether they needed one and I remember this one lady whowas not wearing a sweater and I thought she may want one and she said no I don’t want one as Ialready have it . I have never noticed anyone saying no as they may sell if they receivesomething extra so was quite surprising.
Name: Lahar MehtaLocation: Mumbai, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgWe held a Seva Cafe gathering in Mumbai on Jan 13, 2013. I felt like contributing towards this eventwas a wonderful way I could make an offering with the gift of Rs 5000 I had received from thePollination Project. I used the money towards printing and creating table mats I had designed,which were colourful artworks with inspiring quotations. These are easily reusable as well, andgo a long way in helping creating an ambiance for such positivity- driven gatherings. Theremaining money was contributed towards groceries needed for the event.The gathering was a beautiful experiment in generosity in which we got together a group ofvolunteers, all offering their time towards cooking, decorating spaces and serving almost 100people they had never met before. This was an opportunity to open our hearts and extend ourlove to a larger community and family whom they could serve, with no expectation of return.The ripples of this are expected to travel in all ways and we need to wait and see what it canInspire. Thank you so much for your gracious offering which made it possible to facilitate anevent like the seva cafe in Mumbai.Here is a short blog on the event.(http://www.movedbylove.org/blog/view.php?id=156)
Name: Afreen ShaikhLocation: Pune, India(e): email@example.comI heard about this poor family of 4 children who had lost their father suddenly and they had nomoney to eat any food. The father had been a hawker who sold cups and saucers and theirmother was a typical Muslim housewife who had never stepped outside the house.So I went to meet the family to see for myself what their situation was and to also see how I couldhelp. As soon as I entered their dimly lit house in a narrow bylane of a slum, I knew theydefinitely needed help. I discovered from my brief conversation with the family that so far theyhad been helped by neighbours. I decided to use my gift money to buy them foodgrains so thatatleast till the family recovered from the loss they would not go hungry.The day I was to deliver my gift to the family, I had to wait for 2 hours in the line at thewholesalers to procure the sacks of foodgrains for the family. I tried to be patient while Iwaited, but the heat of the afternoon sun and the crowded shop had made me sweaty andirritable. As I finally made my way to Hadapsar, where the family lived, I was calmer but eagerto hand over the gift and get back.When I delivered the gift to the family, they were delighted. They all grabbed my hands and startedexpressing their thanks and blessings all at once. That sudden display of mass gratitudeoverwhelmed me and made me uncomfortable and I exited after a hurried goodbye. As i sat inthe auto, riding back home, I felt an amazing warmth fill my heart and before I knew it, I hadtears in my eyes.. (continued)
Name: Afreen Shaikh (continued)I knew that the gratitude and blessing I received that day had to be shared with the amazing, folksat the Pollination Project whose generosity and trust made this possible for me. So I shut myeyes and send some metta as my way of saying thank you for giving me this opportunity.I loved the feeling so much that later that evening as I was walking down MG road, I wasautomatically attuned to opportunities to spread the love. I found a sole traffic Policemanwaiting at a junction and it was a busy Saturday evening, the place was crowded and yet hestood there directing traffic.I ran to a store and bought him a chocolate. I was not my most confident self as I walked up to himbut I was high on Giftivism. So I walked over to him and as I handed the chocolate to him, Ithanked him for his service and for managing the traffic well. He seemed more uncomfortablethan I was, but he gave me a lovely smile and said Thank you to which I replied, No no, ThankYOUAs I floated down the road, still high on Giftivism, I saw an old lady begging at the bus stop. She wasbent over and looked almost blind. Now with my confidence having risen after my two shyattempts, I walked over to her and handed over a ten Rupee note, looked her straight in theeye and gave her a wide smile that came from the bottom of my heart. she returned my smile.I was as happy to give as she was to receive. Our smiles matched.Joy of Giftivism indeed! its addictive!
Name: Birju PandyaLocation: New York, USA(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgShared the funds with a gift-economy based gentleman in Ahmedabad who is teaching organicgardening to slum-dwellers with the deeper goal of seeding inner-transformation in them aswell.Birju shares: "The act of thinking through the possibilities of generosity continues to open my handto the idea of love. I want to see how i can take all the unused time in my life and make itmore and more about building a wide community."
Name: Manoj PavitranLocation: Auroville, India(e): email@example.comI gifted 15 fleece blankets for a few elderly and poor grandmothers in the village close to my home.My intention was to honor and acknowledge the presence of the grandmothers of the villageduring the Pongal festival, an important festival in India.
Name: Jhanvi TrivediLocation: Kolkata, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgWe planned a SEVA CAFE experience in Kolkata on 23rd January 2013. I gathered a group ofvolunteers including friends and family and we cooked a wholesome meal for kids at a localorphanage. We then spent a whole afternoon, spending some time in interacting and playingsome games there, followed by lunch. Rs.5000 was spent in partially buying some of theprovisions for the food to be cooked and partially for buying small return gifts.
Name: Monita ChandawatLocation: Pune, India(e): email@example.comI have 2 maids working at my home. I took both of them and their kids for a one day picnic to a hillstation 2 hours away called Mahableshwar. Because of their poverty, they barely have enoughfor their basic needs. I felt like expressing my gratitude for their services to my family, andtreat them to a paid holiday.It was an amazing experience, just superb!! They had a great time in this trip. At the end of the daywhile returning they were actually in tears because they never felt so special in their whole lifetill now.
Name: Vinit SanklaLocation: Pune, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgI paid the fees of my maids kids for 3 months with the money I received. She is a very hardworkinglady and when I interacted with her I really felt like doing something for her and what betterthan reducing a bit of her burden.When I first told her that I want to do this for her she could not believe it and she was reallyoverwhelmed and almost in tears. She even bent to touch my feet. Giving used clothes or ameal is different and doing something like this is different. I feel very inspired now to take thisforward and am motivated to continue these generous acts.
Name: Yogesh MathuriaLocation: Mumbai, India(e): email@example.comI decided to step up the monetary gift with my personal contribution. I met with the a few folkswho work selflessly to support children with multiple disability. They were raising funds byselling participant passes of Mumbai Marathon 2013 at Rs. 6,000/-. I decided to buy pass usingthe funds provided and decided to run the marathon for their cause.
Name: Ramesh ShethLocation: Pune, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgRamesh uncle who happened to be our oldest retreat participant at the age of 78 is a long termfollower of Swami Vivekananda movement.He shares: "I have already passed on the amount to a group active in the celebration of SwamiVivekanandas 150th birthday starting from 12 Jan 1913 till next 12th Jan 2014."
Name: Aabha GuptaLocation: Pune, India(e): email@example.comI used my 5000 Rs towards providing tea in the morning for all the night shift security in my societyeveryday. They also share it with the other people who come into the society early in themorning like the milkman and the newspaper guy. It is a pleasure to see the smile on their faceearly in the morning when they see that flask of tea coming. They are filled with so muchgratitude. I hope to spread similar smiles and compassion among people through this project. Ihope people are encouraged to pay it forward just like they receive.This small experiment in generosity has inspired an idea called Chai Cutta. There are quite a fewtea stalls around Pune. I would buy a few cups of tea and give some kind of stickers or couponsto the stall owner for those. They could be displayed on a board outside the stall. He can usethese to offer tea to the homeless and others who cannot afford to buy a cup of tea from him. Iwould like to support this project till it picks up and other people who buy tea at the stall aremotivated to buy an extra cup and leave it on the Cutta for someone who cannot afford it. Theidea is to implement this at a couple of tea stallls first to figure out the logistics and thenimplement at some more tea stalls."
Name: Shrikant VelloreLocation: Bangalore, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgRecently a friend of mine introduced me to a personal caretaker of destitute children. A lady who isdoing this purely in a personal capacity and could use help from any of us.I was thinking of buying and gifting a simple Art kit to each of those children (some are spastics,autistic etc). My idea with this is to get them to express themselves via art, meet themregularly and track their works. Perhaps at a later date, i could arrange for a local forum toexhibit their work and help them get publicity and sales for it.I was thinking of buying and gifting a simple Art kit to each of those children (some are spastics,autistic etc). My idea with this is to get them to express themselves via art, meet themregularly and track their works. Perhaps at a later date, i could arrange for a local forum toexhibit their work and help them get publicity and sales for it.
Name: Suvid ShahaLocation: Pune, India(e): email@example.comI bought notebooks and a special edition of amar chitra Kathas and gifted it to the children of thecitys sweepers, policemen and traffic police. I was looking for an idea and the idea came in anemail which was to buy special republic day special edition of amar chitra katha comics.
Name: Neha JainLocation: Pune, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgThere are 2 new Awakin gatherings that started in Pune and I gifted them a Tibetan singing bowleach to start and conclude their silent hour with the beautiful melody of the bowl.Also there is a community space called Loft and it has recently started Friday movies. I gifted thespace beautiful embroidered cushions as an act of kindness to seat all their guests.My experience has been inspiring for me to practice the kindness act in many ways. For instance,when I went to buy the singing bowl, the shopkeeper was so inspired by my proposed act ofkindness, that he ended up gifting me a precious stone for the space.Its beautiful how quickly the ripples spread when you see one person doing it,the other wants toparticipate... :)
Name: Deepti GujarLocation: Pune, India(e): email@example.comI was inspired to find many creative ways to spread ripples kindness in the world with the gift of5000 Rs I received. Here are some of the things I did:1. Pay it forward at a restaurant2. Paying for someones cab3. Gifting a meditation bowl to a friend4. Gifting a healing session to someone who really needs it but cannot afford it5. Sending flowers
Name: Vaibhav DugarLocation: Pune, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgInspired by the monetary gift of the 5000 Rs, I set into motion a few simple ripples of love andkindness:1. Bought around 10 books of "One straw revolution" which tagged to people who have beeninquiring on Organic Farming2. Paid an honorable tyre-puncture-fixer to gift the repair of a puncture to the next person whocomes after me.3. I randomly paid the bills of various people who were dining while I was or gifted them a drink toaccompany their meals.4. I bought toys for around 70 kids whom I have just started teaching on organic farming.The puncture-fixer was the one that I will like to mention here. When I asked him to tag someone,he agreed to tag someone else as his initiative :)So now there were two strangers getting tagged with kindness:)
Name: Kokil PoddarLocation: Bangalore, India(e): email@example.comMy sisters maid who has a 4 year old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to beoperated urgently. I routed the 5000 Rs I received as a pay-it-forward gift at the retreat for thesurgery apart from including whatever I could from my side as the surgery was to cost 2 Lacs.An interesting ripple has been that I was able to have more people contribute for the surgery andhave requested people to think about donating to hospitals wherein people who cannot affordtreatment can get care.
Name: Yash ManiarLocation: Mumbai, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.org)A part of the monetary gift was used to buy paints and Glass Bottles. The idea was to promote theuse of glass bottles and replace them with plastic bottles used at our homes, which were thengifted. These Bottles have interesting designs and quotes on them. All of us came together todesign these bottles.The gift was used to bring the community together and get them involvedin art and ofcourse its great to see friends use these bottles, instead of the plastic ones!We plan to continue with this activity of coming together to design these bottles and gifting it tofriends.2) Weve bought books which were gifted to friends in the form of pay-it forward.3) Remaining amount was gifted to a community Space.
Name: Jagruti KhabiyaLocation: Pune, India(e): email@example.comI am deeply passionate about nature. I am always looking for opportunities as to how I maycontribute towards nature. I used the 5000 Rs gift to ignite the love of trees by gifting saplingsto my friends and family anonymously with an accompanying quote. I am also very concernedabout the plight of stray animals and I used some of the money towards giving food to ourroadside friends.
Name: Akshat JainLocation: Pune, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgI helped a patient to pay his one day hospital bill of Rs.2000. The rest of the money I gifted towardsfinishing the repair work of a local temple.The little seed that was sown through this gift of 5000 Rs has started evolving to a point whereeveryday I think about "how can I make somebodys day thru a smile, or tag or act of kindness.And it feels amazing to practice it everyday such that the generosity muscle is getting stronger andstronger and I hope to sustain this practice all my life.
Name: UmaLocation: Auroville, India(e): email@example.comI bought stainless steel plates and cutlery for 30 people. At Auroville we have many gatherings andfor folks tend to use paper or plastic plates for serving food. I felt it is more eco-friendly to usere-usable stainless steel plates and even their durability is for decades.
Name: Vipul Shaha and Christian CalisasLocation: Udaipur, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgThanks for the wonderful times i got the opportunity to spend with the service space family.Christain and I decided to pass on our gift of rs. 5000 to ravi who is working the ragpickerscommunity in Udaipur. ravi has been a khoji with swaraj university and currently a staffmember at shikshantar. he calls it the udaan group.ravi, who has a long experience living and working with street children, has been regpaularlyvisiting udaan community for the past 4 months. he plays cooperative games with the kids, theyvealso done painting and crafts work, healthy food cookingpaper bag making, theatre etc. ravis intention is to recognize the immense beauty, generosity,talent, joy, street-smartedness, jugaad skills, that the ragpicker children possess.he also appreciates their ability to learn and share in an informal setting.his vision is to continue to work with these children and allow free emergence of idewhas, creativityand projects. when udaipur starts to look more professionally at its waste management andsegregation, ravi would like to see this communityto have its say and due in the process.
Name: Vipul Shaha and Christian Calisas(contd)personally for me, the rs.5000 helped get outside the give and take mindset and offer my timeat shikshantar (4 months) as a gift rather than a paid internship. it also led me to organize anevening of giftivismby the lake front which was extremely well received (although the funds were providedby shikshantar and a group of american students visiting us).thank you for stimulating a new thought and action process!
Name: Divya GuptaLocation: Delhi, India(e): email@example.comIt starts from a village in Ahmadabad I have been visiting quite consistently. 2 years back AIREP, anNGO working in Ahmadabad villages set up an RO water plant in July 2011 in the village as asocial entrepreneurial project where they used to give purified water @ Rs 0.20 per litre.The story begin when they found that the drinking water in the village was very contaminated andthey started looking for a solution to that. Finally they came with an idea of putting up acommunity water RO plant to purify water and to sell it to the villagers at as cheap as @ Rs0.20 per litre. (We pay Rs 15 for same purified water by Bisleri).So project began with a capital investment of around 1 Lakh from the NGO itself and theoperational costs were being covered by the money villagers used to pay for the water. Therole of an operator is the most important in the whole project as he is the one who is going torun the show and basic daily activities of the whole project.
Name: Divya Gupta(continued)Now here comes Sursang kaka, he has been working as operator from last almost 2 years now (in thewhole village, he was the only local person to help us and take up this offer) at as low salary asRs 3000 a month, and because of this work he has not been able to give attention to hisagricultural activities also.In addition, the NGO hasn’t been financially doing so well, so they have been defaulting in payinghim even Rs 3000 a month (even the revenues coming from the plant was not enough to payhim)! So a few months back, Sursang kaka announced that he wouldn’t be able to continue asthe earnings from the plant are not being enough for his family as his 2 kids are growing up andhe needs to earn much more money to send them to college in Ahmadabad. The NGO doesn’thave any option than to shut the plant down because there was no one to run the plant.I recently got to visit the village again and just appreciate the service Sursang kaka was doing bysupplying purified water to families in the village, I anonymously tagged him with Rs 5000 withan appreciation note as a gift to the services he has rendered to the village without expectingsalary in return (with a hope that he continues to supply purified water to the villagers)! I don’tknow if I had made an impact or not but I truly feel content having appreciated for the goodwork he has done and making an attempt to inspire him to continue the good service he wasdoing to the village.
Name: Pratyush RajvanshiLocation: New Delhi, India(e): firstname.lastname@example.orgCountering random acts of violence with stories of goodness.My story: I was deeply pained by the recent random acts of violence that had disturbed the peace inmy city. I wanted to reach out to the larger community and engage them in a process to helpshift the society from a path of violence towards kindness and peace. When I received the 100 $grant, I involved a couple of my friends to design, print and distribute 1000 paper pamphletswith inspiring stories of generosity and transformation (inner leading to outer) at multiplevenues across Delhi. Assuming that atleast 3 people read each pamphlet, hopefully this willimpact about 3,000 people in some miniscule way.
Review• In total, 42 people were tagged with $100 each• $800 remaining for follow-on or other gift-economy projects• ~30 additional stories will be included inseparate document with shorter write-ups
Why Stories?• Stories speak to the intangible:o In our metric-driven world, it takes stories to highlight the importance of things that we cannotquantify.o There is no number to signify a shift in thinking, but it can be illustrated beautifully in a story.o It is a way to articulate what is happening holistically to those who would only look to more metric-driven definitions of outcomes.• Stories allow for personal reflection:o As Vinoba would say, for action to create shift in thinking and being, reflection is also needed.o Requesting people to share stories offers an opportunity to ensure such reflections take place,allowing each person to see for themselves how invitations to shift thinking leads to broader shifts inmicro-actions.• Stories give importance to small things:o Again, from numbers driven perspective, we as a society lose sight of small things.o The starfish story as a telling example, stories are a method to transcend that bias and help peopleunderstand that the world is simply an amalgamation of the small :)• Stories facilitate transformation of all parties:o While it would be one thing to think of transformation as ‘ones own’, reality is that we are alldeeply interconnected to each other.o In that space, the ability to share our transformation on any level offers an invitation to thoseconnected to us to explore the same.o Consequently, one’s family members, friends, even funders of the flow funds can receive a messagefor transformation that would not be accessible otherwise.
The Story Behind the Story• Each external manifestation had an internalshift behind it• There is much more that has happened foreach person – how to measure changes tofamily life, community cohesion,environmental awareness?• We are facilitating total shift, but they taketime and are unpredictable
Lessons Learned• What went wello Relationship buildingo Ecosystem supporto Amount of fundso Successful facilitation of mindset shift• Areas to strengtheno Importance of creating contexto More personal interactiono Speed of turnaround• Edgeso Speed vs Emergenceo Expected results vs Unexpected (andamazing) resultso Short-term stories vs Long-term shifts