PROJECT 1% – The Power of Small Actions

Have you heard the story of the young man who, while walking down an empty beach spotted a person throwing beached starfish back into the sea?

Since there were millions of beached starfish on that particular coast, he went up to his man and asked him why he was doing this. The man explained that starfish were very important to the ecosystem and that he did this when he went down for his daily walk. ‘That’s pointless’- exclaimed the young man “There are millions of them and you can never make much of a difference”. 

Our starfish hero picked up a starfish on the ground, flung it back into the sea, smiled and said – “Made a difference to that one..”

Similar to that story, we believed that our small actions would help to make a better world.  So in late 2013, as a group of friends we startedHelp2grow.org. After experimenting with a few projects, we have now embarked on a promising light weight project – Project 1%. 

Introducing Project 1% :

Project 1% as the name suggests includes each of us pledging 1%.  We pledge 1% of our incomes, time and energy to helping worthy causes.. because we believe that small things can often be the big things. We meet virtually monthly to channel the resources to a partner of our choice. That’s it!  (Perhaps, our favourite part of project 1% is  how easy it is to explain)

Since we began, we’ve made our small impact with the 1% Pledges. Here the causes we funded between Mar and Jun’15 with various great NGOs:

  • SOS Childrens’ Village: a year’s education for a child

    The 1% impact

  • Project Khel: 3 months of sports based life-skills course for 50 children
  • Vidyarambam: 4 months of English classes for 40 kids in Chennai & child’s full year education (Shweta’sobservations)
  •  Bridging the Gaps (partially sponsored) – a sport-art camp for 120 underprivileged kids to learn about leadership, gender equality and many other things. (Myobservations on transforming lives)

The world is changed one starfish at a time & Project 1% is our step in that direction.Share 1% Care 100% .

—-

This is also posted at Help2grow.org. We’re very proud of the work we’ve done so far and would love to hear from you. Are there causes you would like to fund?  Would you like to share 1%? We’d love to hear from you.

Who is the idiot?

You are trying to enter a building. You have an important meeting and have been invited over. You’ve even been sent emails telling you about the security clearance. You have all the paperwork to take you in. However, for some reason the security team is not letting you in. You are stuck outside, the guard is being an idiot and you can’t enter the building. You reason with him at first,you plead and you may even argue – yet no access!

How many such encounters do you have?  Encounters where you are trying to tell people to do the right thing, yet people remain stubborn. Encounters where people are being downright Idiots and getting in your way.

But hold on.. Who is the idiot here? At the end of the encounter – you lost your right to enter the building, you lost your cool and perhaps lost a lot of energy. He is having his way. So he maybe an idiot, but you are the bigger idiot aren’t you?

We communicate to get an idea across. We interact to influence the other person. If we can’t, we are perhaps the idiot.

Looking out the window…

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.  One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to receive his daily medical treatment.  His bed was next to the room’s only window.  The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.  The men talked for hours on end.  They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, and where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.  The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by the description of activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a beautiful lake.  Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats.  Young lovers held hands and walked amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow.  Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.  As the man described his view from the window in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing through the park.  Although the other man could not hear the band, he could see the parade in his mind’s eye, as the gentleman by the window developed a detailed picture with his descriptive words.

One morning, the nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.  She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.  Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside.  Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself.  He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.  To his surprise the window faced a brick wall.

The man called for the nurse and asked what could have compelled his deceased roommate to describe such wonderful things outside this window.  The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.  She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

The moral of the story is there is tremendous joy in making others happy, despite our own situations.  Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.  If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money cannot buy.  Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.

The message on the gate

Many years ago, a victorius king wanted to build a gate to his city. He wanted the gate to carry a message that would stand the test of time.

He gathered a bunch of wise people. They were asked to come up with a message that would be timeless yet also stand for everything the city stood for. The king said the message (like the city) should mean something to the ruler & the rules, young & the old, the wise & not so wise, the happy & the sad, the rich & the poor and the loved & the not so loved. He wanted a message that would apply to all.

The wise people searched for long and searched far. Many candidates were deliberated on and finally the wise people agreed on a message. The gate reads “This too shall pass” …