We, India Fellows, have three training components (mainly), each with an average of 10 days spread across the 13 month long duration of the program*. The third training component, the travel workshop, is to be funded by the fellows themselves#. The travel workshop is to be held at Ladakh and the cost projected per fellow is 30000 rupees which includes everything from the time we leave Delhi till we reach Delhi back.
I had many reservations, like the need for flying (adding to cost), among other things. I was incredibly reluctant to crowd fund for myself; not able to see myself as a deserving cause. I volunteer now, meaning I do not get stipend, so no savings to fund for myself. Owing to the constraints of time and need for planning, my sweetheart (one of the fellows) raised money for me on the social platform. She raised all the 30000 rupees needed.
When people started giving, it was a whole new world. There was immense, just immense gratitude building up inside. There was kindness showered on me by people whom I have never spoken to. Some people whom I didn’t even know. It was so overwhelming and incredible to an extent that I felt it was well, my watershed moment! I wanted to cast doubts aside, like how truly was I in need of/wanting that training experience etc. Having received money, I just wanted to take the most from the experience. I wanted to make every penny count which was given with such generosity.
However, during the prior trainings, I learnt or took whatever was given to me; I never questioned. I accepted, thinking the people facilitating know better. I just accepted whatever it was, as the part of design. Funny thing is, even during prior trainings (or for that matter, other prior experiences) it was the money of someone else being spent on me. I never felt the same deep gratitude towards those faceless people; I never did even try to think of the ‘origin of money’, etc.
I feel it is better we experience things to realize many more aspects. Have do-it-yourself attitude in ourselves. Anyways, this experience has added on a bit more to my intention of giving back to society.
However, ending on a pessimistic note – the novelty of that experience has passed and now my actions do not yet show as if that was my watershed moment. Everything is the same.
*There are two more: one, convocation cum training at the end and two, material forwarded regularly as ‘virtual training’.
#Program team would fill up the unmet target.