ANYTHING is possible with Made By Survivors12 Sep 2011, by Made By Survivors Programs in
Since returning from my life changing trip volunteering with Made By Survivors in India this past January, I’ve become a bit of a blabbermouth.I have been telling lots of people about the trip, sharing photos and letting as many folks’ as I can about Made By Survivors, its programs and of course, about the girls. Mostly it has been with friends and family, or others who have asked, but that’s not really true. I try to slip it into conversations with people I don’t really know all that well. Once I feel strongly about something, it is rather difficult to get me to stop.
This can be a good thing, or maybe it isn’t. In this case, I think it’s great.My friends are well aware of my new found passion of trying to figure out ways of advocacy and fundraising, and sometimes things have emerged in the most curious and unexpected ways. I wanted to share a few of those here and to let others know that by planting a few seeds here and there, ANYTHING is possible as a result.
A few weeks ago I was a presenter at an event on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada called Pecha Kucha Night (PKN). Pecha Kucha (Japanese for chit-chat) is a presentation format in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each.
Pecha Kucha Night was started in 2003 by architects and designers as a way to showcase their work but has since branched out to all kinds of people presenting. Pecha Kucha has become a worldwide phenomenon, being held in over 430 cities worldwide as of August 2011. Event flyers are posted on the global Pecha Kucha Daily blog (http://www.pecha-kucha.org/).
This particular Pecha Kucha event I spoke at had ten presenters; each person was allowed 20 slides, and each is shown for 20 seconds. So I had only 6 minutes and 40 seconds to talk about my trip to India, about Made By Survivors, and to showcase the girls with the photos projected on a giant screen. There were about 130 people present. While I am not one who feels all that comfortable doing public speaking, I wanted to do it because it was a great opportunity to get the word out. A theme throughout all of this has been “this isn’t about me”. This self reminder can help to move past lots of potential roadblocks, neuroses and goodness knows what, not to mention helped me to survive a trip to Calcutta!
For the talk, I had brought sponsorship forms and brochures for people to peruse and take home. There were also small pieces of paper I had printed out with WWW.MADEBYSURVIVORS.COM on them. I figured that some people don’t want to be burdened with more paper and might just want the URL to go and browse the site from the comfort of their own homes.
My hope for the evening was that there might be donations to Made By Survivors and potentially school sponsorships that could come in but one never knows what effect a talk can have on people. Seeds can be scattered, but you don’t know what may sprout from them, if anything. When I spoke, I focused on the joy of the young women I had met and on the hope that this new direction of education and training has given them in their lives. Now they have a real future ahead of them to look forward to and work towards. And thankfully, I do not have to make that part up. Their open hearts and smiling faces were a testament to their lives being turned around. They are being given an education and are learning skills that will give them opportunities to be self-supporting in their adult lives. That’s incredible. And for the price of a cappuccino or two per week, we can make a SIGNIFICANT impact and CHANGE A LIFE. No kidding.
As for the seeds that sprouted from my talk, the next morning I received an e-mail from my friend Jim Maurice. Jim was also a presenter at Pecha Kucha that night and he spoke about his passion for Raw/Living Food. He and his wife Chris have a kitchen-cafe on Salt Spring Island called Rawsome Living Foods. His email said that both he and Chris had been very moved by my presentation and in talking about it on their way home they decided they wanted to do something to help. They offered to host a fundraiser whereby they would provide their time, food and space to host a dinner. Meals would be a $30 donation per person and all the money would go to Made By Survivors. How amazing! What a lovely, kind offer from them. Knowing I had travel plans looming I needed to decide quickly on what to do.
I realized that as I had a milestone birthday coming up, it could be the PERFECT opportunity to gather up some girlfriends to join me in a premature birthday celebration. I was thrilled with the idea.
We figured it out, got a head count (kept it fairly small so as to not overwhelm our gracious hosts), and came up with a total of 8. We ended up having a wonderful raw/vegan Italian style dinner with great company and lots of laughter. Not to mention the divine Blueberry Cheesecake with mouth watering chocolates on the side. AND, we raised $370 for Made By Survivors!! I could not have asked for a more wonderful evening, surrounded by awesome friends, beautiful food and all for a great cause. Jim is also now promoting Made By Survivors on his Facebook pages, so it really IS the gift that keeps on giving.
The next amazing thing that happened was when I was meeting with a couple who now facilitate the Salt Spring Island branch of Pecha Kucha where I presented my talk the previous week. Yves Rouselle and Danie Wood are graphic designers and their company is BauWow Design. We met to discuss the concept of a logo for a business venture I am creating. When it came to talk of payment they offered me an interesting option; instead of paying them directly, they suggested that instead I sponsor someone to go to school through Made By Survivors program. I would pay to sponsor a child, they do my logo and a girl gets to go to school and change her life. We all win. I was stunned. What a gift. We are going to put our names all together as co-sponsors so we can each receive the updates on our sponsored child. How great is that? We will now become a new family of sorts! I was extremely touched by their offer.
I have realized that because of my talk that evening, I catalyzed some very creative and passionate people to figure out a way to do something that will make a difference for this particular cause. And each one has come up with incredible offerings. I am so grateful for the generous souls that I continue to come into contact with who want to help and am thrilled beyond words that we can continue to reach these beautiful young women on the other side of the world. We are indeed one family. This is being shown to me over and over again. There are no limits to the possibilities of how to give. Each one of us has our own way, and the unique gifts that we each possess are just waiting to be tapped. We are unlimited potential, each one of us. We need to act and NOT keep quiet. A life depends on it.