Investing in our future – our first donations! :)

It’s one thing to talk about investing in two amazing young leaders in India with money from the sale of our first book – Maya & Leela Present: Dances of India.

It’s quite another feeling and experience to actually make our first financial contributions to Aarti Naik and Sumeet Gade Yes, we made our first donation of $1,000 ($500 each) to Aarti and Sumeet and will make one more payment later in the year.  We were for real when we said that the books you buy would help support tomorrow’s leaders!

From the time that our idea of a multicultural book series took root, integrating a social component was imperative to us.  We decided to take a chance regardless of the success of our venture, because we wanted to offer something meaningful despite the sales that come in the first year.

Seeking out the youngest leaders in India to support not only clicked because our books are meant for the younger reader, but also because we felt that perhaps a smaller amount would go a longer way with them versus a traditional, established organization out there.

Now, how the heck would we find these sparks hidden amidst the ocean of grown-up fish that often claim more media attention and web resources?  Enter the advice and support from Ashoka’s Youth Venture, which works with the exact young people around the world we were thinking of.  Several conversations and emails later, we fell in love with the passion and projects of Sumeet and Aarti.  Sumeet works to bring joy and healing to children who are patients in a hospital in Mumbai (think Indian Patch Adams Jr.) and Aarti has made it her mission to bring access to education to girls living in her slum community in Mumbai.

And, it turns out that just giving them the money without condition ain’t so bad of an idea.  Looks like the economists that be, 🙂 and charities like GiveDirectly supported by Google and other biggies suggest that cash transfers without strings attached are most effective in addressing poverty.  Does this apply to empowering young people to realize their truest potential and help transform their communities for the good?  We think so, but we shall see.

So far we have been pleasantly surprised by hearing back almost immediately from them on the clarity they have in how they plan to spend the money we sent:

  • Aarti was able to spend the funds we sent to pay for her expenses to get to Delhi to receive an award, and also secure a community space for her girls:

“Your financial support came on right time when I was struggling to get quality space specially for my slum girls. But now I am so confident and I am so happy that because of your strong support I was able to invest such big amount to have creative learning space for my slum based girls,” noted Aarti in a recent email to us.

  • Sumeet writes, “I will be dividing this funding into 3 parts – 1. Community Out each program where we need to pay Rs. 33,000 thousand. 2. Medical assistance for needy pediatric patients for operations and 3. Professional growth (Basically attending capacity building workshops that will enhance my skills in my field).”

All this to say, it feels GREAT that we were able to actually make our first contribution!  Many of you are part of that, so please do feel good with us.  🙂  And we hope this is just the beginning of what we can do to support the future of our worlds.

Posted on: March 28, 2014, by : littleloka