OK, so 21 admissions ... what's the big deal?
What’s the big deal with 21 admissions? Aren’t there NGOs doing 10000x more than that? Isn't this what we are supposed to do? Well, the thing is – technically, NO – its not our work. We don’t have a mandate to get these children into school, or even to launch a new program or to do anything more than our core life-skills education programme. None of our supporters knew about KHELShaala, it wasn't even on our site until very recently.
So, yes, I know 21 admissions is nothing to crow about, but this where the story gets interesting.... we need to look at this small success of 21 admissions in light of all the other work we are doing. So here's a look at some of what we were able to do in the last ONE year alone
- ~1500 children were enrolled in our core Life Skills Education programme that takes our unique approach to education to shelter homes, slums, low-income schools and village schools
- Over 3500 children participated in abBAS! workshops, our initiative against Child Sexual Abuse.
- 2225 young girls, women and boys were empowered through Red Spot, our programme on Menstruation Hygiene Management.
- ~1000 teenagers enthusiastically participated in Teen Talks, our open discussion forum that deals with adolescence related issues ranging from body image and safe uses of social media to issues around sex and sexuality.
- We achieved 10,000+ play hours through justKHELo, our weekend programme that provides positive role models to slum children through play based volunteering.
- We have an additional outreach of over 1,00,000 (one lakh!) in the last year alone through partnerships and events with organizations such as UNICEF. Just one such project impacted 67,000 girls in villages of Uttar Pradesh for awareness on Menstrual Hygiene through a TOT model of delivering our innovative curriculum!
In addition to these 'numbers' , we have a competitive Ultimate Frisbee team comprising of young girls and boys from slums and shelter homes that is getting exposure by playing tournaments with teams from top colleges, corporates and cities across India.
We have a range of social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter that are updated regularly - some weekly, some daily and some multiple times a day - giving our supporters real-time information from the various locations where we are working.
In addition to ALL OF THIS, we do a host of other things which we don't even report as 'impact' when we talk of our work. We take children for movies at theaters, we respond to a fire at our slum location by collecting and distributing clothes and utensils, we do medical camps, we send children for various leadership and educational opportunities, we conduct the Global Peace Games, we get international groups such as Flying Seagull Project and Cambridge Rickshaw Theater groups to our locations, we take our children out of station for tournaments, camps and visits to places like the Taj Mahal, we take them on visits to the local police station, we respond to individual needs of children and their families, we take them to hospital if needed, we celebrate their smallest successes and visit them when tragedy strikes.
The point of all of what you have read thus far is simply this. I firmly believe that we are able to do this because we are able to focus on that ONE. This number ONE need not be a child like Satyam, it could be anything - any ONE opportunity we see where we can intervene - it could even be a movie.
When Jungle Book released, we were utterly convinced that if we did not somehow show our kids this ONE movie in a theater we were failures (find THAT in a laser-focused mission statement or in a project document or in a list of deliverables). So we reached out for support and got tickets and snacks and travel sponsored (not so easy) and we just made it happen. Why?
- Did we "change lives" by taking children for that movie? No.
- Did we give them an experience to remember? Yes
- Do we count these numbers in any of our impact numbers, No.
- CAN we count these numbers anywhere? No, because we don't have any programme remotely related to showing movies.
- Was this the first time we took children for a movie? Hell, no.
- Would we do it again? Hell, yes.
- Why? Because it's ONE opportunity for those children to experience something and if we can make it happen, we will.
So the point is that we are able to achieve unimaginably huge numbers and outcomes (given our team size, budget size and available resources - more on this in a later post) ONLY and ONLY because we focus on that ONE Satyam. We go all out to get him into school, we do not say things like "getting his Aadhar card is not our work" or "parents should take him to school for admissions, not us". If we can change one life, we do it and in doing so we end up achieving much, much more. As Beth Clark said (and we strongly believe),
Words of Wisdom that resonate with us and our ethos
And that, my friends, is the power of one!