And hope floats in a full bucket

We hoped that we’d unearth more about a giving culture that is evolving, about people who are being drawn to an economy that looks beyond money, about individuals who are putting generosity to good use, and a city where kindness is spreading. And look what we found.


We hoped that we’d unearth more about a giving culture that is evolving, about people who are being drawn to an economy that looks beyond money, about individuals who are putting generosity to good use, and a city where kindness is spreading. And look what we found.

What’s a social change publication go to do with a marathon? And when did running become synonymous with changing the world? – polite yet persistent enquiries from everybody and their friends as we started out planning a campaign around the TCS World 10K.

And what did we have to go on? Other than a few NGOs looking to raise funds (when are they not?), a few corporates who would anyways have gone about their responsibility initiatives, marathon or not, celebrities, and some tea (the jaagore variety of course)? When we started Bucket a Hope, we had little more than an eager content team, a stout heart, an empty bucket and loads of hope. Hope that we’d unearth more about a giving culture that is evolving, about people who are being drawn to an economy that looks at “value”, about individuals who are putting generosity to good use, and a city where kindness is spreading. And look what we found.

Uday Bhai and his gift economy auto

Uday Bhai and his gift economy auto. Pic: Moved by Love

Giving it away: Perhaps the firmest advocates of the power of generosity are those who live and work by it. Uday Bhai runs his auto based on the gift economy taxi where you decide what to pay, and what’s more, feeds himself and 3 children from it; Jyotsna Parmer’s hand painted recycled bottle piggy banks have street children collecting funds for community projects , and Vinod Sreedhar runs eco-sensitization tours for the joy of doing it. Every drop can count, we find, as we track the fortunes of transparent boxes with small locks that collect change at supermarket cash counters. And once people trust that their money is being put to good use, loosening purse strings isn’t as mammoth anymore.

CMCA at the marathon. Pic: CMCA

CMCA at the marathon. Pic: CMCA

Bangalore’s Incredibles: Gumption is a good word to describe some of the people we met during the last 3 weeks on the charity campaign trail for the TCS World 10K, which has raised 1.45 crores this year for charity, and counting. Like Reena Raju, recipient of a heart transplant, who sings, plays the guitar and runs to raise awareness about the reality of organ donation. Or Zamir Dahle, the charming deaf-blind advocacy officer of Sense International, and perhaps the first deaf-blind person to run the marathon. And definitely the kids of CMCA who clean up after their parents and file RTIs on garbage and potholes!

Revanna of Dream-A-Dream. Pic: Revanna

Revanna of Dream-A-Dream. Pic: Revanna

Supporting changemakers are city runners who make every mile count by attracting funds for causes. Bangalore, with its colourful running culture, we discover, has many of them. Revanna who came to Bangalore as a child looking for work, and is now a life skills facilitator and runs to raise money for it inspires us; Bharathi and Amarnath, highest individual donors this year (22.5 lakhs) tell us it doesn’t take much, and others show us how they could run wherever they are in the world to raise money for causes here.

By the Water Cooler” was visual work on giving that immediately went viral. Fistful of dreams by Nishant talking about a dark girl who gets adopted and her life, stayed with us for a very long time; Fly Away Penguin is one of those that immediately made us get up and just go hug somebody :-). We had fundraising studies talking about creativity and innovation in giving, people to give us gyan on giving, and more on offer. And accounts of how it went post run.

In all, it was 3 weeks of discovering loss that cannot get happier.

A marathon clean-up effort. Pic courtesy: Saahas

A marathon clean-up effort. Pic courtesy: Saahas

June 6, 2011, day after run: And so, in the manner of all other things in a democracy, the marathon raised a lot of money and a lot of waste, with an equal share of enthusiasts proclaiming it was the greatest fundraising event ever, and naysayers, who cringed at a lot of things – the fee, branding overdose, NGOs that didn’t manage to raise a buck, and more.

As we huffed and puffed to the finishing line proudly (not counting our writer Vani who went by the side and had her own adventures!), among the 22,000 odd others who came out with a spring in their step, we realised that there was a lot of ‘good work’ happening; people were enthused about it in general, and a larger sense of community prevailed, irrespective of what people went back to later in their lives. It would be naïve to say that we discovered our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but there is a pot, and it is filling up steadily and quietly.

Much thanks: Blogadda, our blogging partners, Meena Dave and the fabulous team at Bangalore Cares, Procam’s Aarti and Anushree for giving us a lowdown on how they organize a run like this, all the NGOs we knocked at the doorstep of incessantly, Arvind Bharathi and his team at RFL , Santhosh Padmanabhan and all the other runners who helped us with loads of information.

And our giving story tellers! We received an overwhelming response to our call for giving stories, the bucket was filled many times over, and there was much good cheer all around. Thanks for all your stories dear readers, we hope to continue to discuss giving a lot more in the coming days. Blog contest winners will be announced shortly.

The campaign supporting giving at the TCS World 10K ends tomorrow.

Disclaimer: We did receive a lot of enquiries on “how much money do you take?”, from NGOs. We have stood squarely by our journalistic code of conduct and ethics through this campaign. No money or favour has been exchanged and no external input has influenced our content decisions.

Also read:

Bucket a Hope: Pockets of change

Trading Books for Smiles

 


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. more

   FOLLOW US

   SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
  Top Stories on TA






  Top Stories in BUSINESS






   Get stories like this in your inbox

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. more

Discuss this article on Facebook