This is an email I sent to every single contributor to Project Hope on September 8, 2013.
This is an email I sent to every single contributor to Project Hope on September 8, 2013.
This is an email I sent to every single contributor to Project Hope on August 19, 2013.
People say that the problem with me is that my writing is crude because it comes straight from the heart. I guess that explains why I am writing this email at 2.30 am and sending without editing or proofing. I can’t sleep. I am soaking in what we have just achieved. Project Hope. Rs 8 lakh. We are through.
Bajaj Capital just offered me a Rs 15 lakh loan on 0% interest rate. That’s right, you read it correct. 0%.
Is there a catch? Of course there is. Do I know what the catch is. Of course not, I don’t know.
I don’t know how these schemes work. And they way the agents sell the plans its just impossible for a naysayer like me to read between the lines.
Anyway, so here is the deal the agent tried to sell me on the phone:
For example if I go ahead with a Rs 5 lakh loan with 10 year repayment I will be paying Rs 50,000 every year.
Bajaj Capital will invest the loan repayment EMI in a life insurance policy which will have a maturity of Rs 9.60 lakh (This is where the locha is). This entire money will go to the company.
Since Bajaj will get Rs 9.60 lakh at the end of the maturity they don’t need to charge me any interest rate. Hence, I get the loan at 0% interest rate and Bajaj still makes its money on the life insurance policy.
Now I want someone to explain how this works and what is the catch.
I should update this blog a lot more often.
Let’s begin with Project Hope numbers. I have collected Rs 1,84,000 as on February 8! Isn’t that fabulous? I genuinely did not believe this was possible. Definitely I was under the influence of the most potent alcohol of all when I thought of starting this initiative – hope.
And since I was in Delhi last week I met people who happily wrote a few cheques to me! Talk of offline collection drive!
But as I said earlier, contribution is not only in terms of money. A friend was seemingly upset knowing that people don’t even have just Rs 800 to give. Well, neither do I blame her, nor do I blame you. Any sum that has the potential to change someone’s life isn’t small.
And its not about the cash totally. People are also helping me spread the word and that help crosses the ocean faster than a Concorde.
Now the repercussion.
Project Hope has slightly changed my behaviour on Twitter. Earlier I could get into arguments and mild trolling. Now I can’t. Because the people I used to argue and troll with have come out and helped me so generously that its embarrassing for me to argue with them.
Not that they have shown their discomfort but I am myself not able to separate the two.
People talk of Chinese Walls all the time. Although I have conquered one literally it is the figurative Wall that has put me in the dilemma.
But I am not complaining. Its a small price to pay. Moreover, maybe I don’t disagree with them now at all.
Possible? Yes. Hope.
I faced a couple of issues relating to my genuineness and keeping some of the identities anonymous. I am glad some of you asked questions and were satisfied with my answers. One thing I wanted to make very clear since some of you had this query. The total course fee is around Rs 22 lakh. I have half of it sorted through a bank loan and my personal savings. Its the rest that I am trying to raise through Project Hope.
Some of you said you don’t want your names to put up on a public forum. Fair enough. I deleted all names from the public file.
Some of you said you don’t want the money back. In normal circumstances I would have used it to build a fresh corpus to see the world but that can wait.
The amount of love and support I have received is simply unparalleled. This has emboldened the thought that if you set out to achieve something people will come forward to help.
A few emails were from people who are in the same boat as me and yet contributed. I just can’t thank them enough.
The last time I said so many “thank yous” was on my engagement day! That did not survive. This will.
Its time for a commitment.
In approximately four years from now I will match the money I am able to raise through this Project Hope in the coming three months. That corpus will be used to fund education of people like me.
Say Yes! to Project Hope.
Its not about money anymore. On Day 1 itself I am saying this. Yes, its not about money anymore. The absolute love people have showered upon me during the last 12 hours is in itself life altering.
How many people will just part with their money because a stranger wants to go to London to study. No questions asked. Nothing. I met these people. And whatever I deserve in life is now secondary.
Its no more my dream or goal. It is our collective goal. When I go to London its not me alone who will be going there. Its us. All of us. Including those who just encouraged me with their words. Because as I said, now its no more about the money. Its a journey. Not mine. Ours.
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 email@example.com 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