This is the last day of internship work. Tomorrow we present the output of our projects. I cannot wait to see all of what we have been able to achieve in 10 days. 10 days!! Many of us set out worrying that might not be enough time to do anything substantial; we needed more time to make any kind of impact.
My perspective changed earlier this week when I met to interview Gijs, director of Unltd Tamil Nadu, an organisation that supports social enterprises to anchor and scale their investments. When discussing the objectives of Auroville, he said that the ultimate aim is to participate in the process of human evolution. We do not know what the human race will evolve into or if the process will ever come to an end and so the most we can do is cherish the opportunity to participate in something meaningful towards that evolution.
It is not about the results at the end of the process; it is about what we have been able to contribute to the process.
A new website, updated social media, a fundraising campaign launched, a new package design, a documentary video or even an information brochure… that is us participating in the remarkable things these organisations are doing.
My internship assignment is to Yatra; a two-pronged organisation. One arm is the Arts Foundation that teaches Indian traditional singing and dance, gives painting lessons and offers evening tuition classes to village children at no cost. These activities are funded by the other arm, Yatra Multimedia that is engaged in film making and community theatre with the motive to educate for social change.
The founder, Yatra Srinivassan, is an artist who confesses inability to discuss money. So he works more than he is paid and then what he earns he puts into his village outreach through the Arts Foundation. Why bother? Srini says he does it for the love of the children and his village, Kuilapalayam. As a child, he had to go to Pondicherry for dance and drama lessons and he knows it is too far and expensive for the children who would want a similar opportunity. Yatra Arts Foundation is his way of bringing the service closer to them. It is something meaningful – the children have somewhere to get help with their homework and an opportunity to learn the arts of their ancestry.
I realise that what I am contributing to Yatra, like the volunteers before me is like a drop of rain to patched ground; they need so much, we have time to do so little. It is frustrating to not watch over the implementation of the various proposals we have made, to evaluate and revise them to ensure the most impact. However, like Gijs says,
“Just doing something of value is worthwhile.”
I don’t have to witness what Yatra will evolve into; I simply have to do something meaningful towards the process of their evolution. That is both comforting and energising.