Hope. And paying it forward.
Hope makes us do wonderful, strange things. This is my hope.
If you are willing to risk just a little on what Kipling called “a turn of pitch-and-toss”, if you can spend some money for a cause good enough to rack up bonus brownie points for your Karma account, read ahead. Even if you aren’t an altruistic Rockefeller, read on – you might just have a change of heart by the end.
All I have is the hope that springs eternal.
How far would you go to make somebody else’s dream come true? If that someone else is your wife? Or husband? Or a friend..? Or even just a stranger like me?
Before we go any further, how much of your money are we talking? Is this charity? A donation? Or something else altogether?
Rs 800. That’s all it takes. And it’s crowdfunding. An investment – in me. In my ability to make a difference in the years ahead. In my resolve to make that difference.
I got positive feedback when I discussed this idea with a couple of my friends, but I have no doubt this is harder than climbing Everest without oxygen.
Yet, hope makes us do wild, wonderful, strange things.
Am I embarrassed to be discussing my finances with you? Not at all. I know there are many others out there without a college fund. I want you to be mine. Some of you know me personally, but don’t know this story. So here goes.
This blogpost is about education. And my right to have one. And my struggle to bring Earth and Sky closer to get one. This is just one step in that direction.
In 2007, right after my graduation I applied for my MA degree in the UK. I got admission but couldn’t go – my wonderful grandparents and extended family who had funded my education couldn’t help anymore, and I had no money of my own. So I went to work instead – I’ve been a journalist for the last five years.
After five years of working, I’ve decided to clinch that duvet of hope yet again. And here I am again, at the same crossroads, looking yearningly at the path ahead, with no wherewithal to take that first step. Yet, take that step I must. This is not merely about my future – it is about my resolve to make a larger impact to society. I have it in me.
I know there are many other ways of making a difference, but this is the path I have chosen for myself. I’m proud of having taught some wonderful students in two Mumbai colleges – I hope with positive impact. Now I want to add to my arsenal of skills to use for good. By getting that MA, in the UK.
With crowdfunding. From you. I am counting on you.
Yes, you – I am counting on you.
You must be wondering why I don’t apply for a bank loan. After all, our dear finance minister stressed the fact that banks cannot refuse an education loan to any eligible student. That’s true – almost. the devil is in the details. For foreign education, a maximum loan of Rs 25 lakhs is available. That is good news but like in a Hindi film, there is a catch. You must produce collateral for any loan over Rs 7.5 lakh. And this effectively means that, like so many students in our country, I cannot fund my college through a bank loan.
Scholarships? Yes. That’s a hope. I have applied to every single one of those I could under the sun. Am I counting on them? Yes.
Am I counting more on you? Yes.
Here is my proposal:
I need to put together Rs 20 lakh ($36,000) in the next six months so that I am able to go to London for my MA beginning September 2013.
Each of you send me Rs. 800 ($15). That’s all it takes.
Why Rs. 800? The crowdfunding idea came from my Twitter and Facebook lists. I have slightly over 2500 followers and 600 friends, and if half of them funded me to the tune of Rs. 800 or $15, my means are assured to help reach the goal. Of making a difference!
I won’t get into the conscience stirring stuff about an evening out or an impulse buy, but this much I will say – a small amount to each of you, put together, is a dream realized for me. Helping proves there is enlightened altruism in this world and that people will come together for someone like me. And in return get back their principal, with 8% interest and the bigger promise of me making use of that education for good. To make a difference.
Yes, I have every intention of returning this money to you. Every one of you – in seven years time. With interest. I don’t want you to be an unknown donor. I will tabulate every single contribution in cash or kind, update and make that document public on this blog to ensure transparency.
Please email me your investment in me with your bank account details and complete address and phone numbers. How else will I keep a track of you and return the money when I can?
My email id is firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, or if you want to help in any way that you can. I will be more than happy to engage.
And I will pay this altruism forward, all my life, helping others as I have been helped.
I sincerely hope that you will send me the money and become part of a history in the making. A history that will change the course of my future. And with me, the world.
My LinkedIn profile: http://lnkd.in/cKPixb
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shubh1608