[Sujata, March 2012]
The first time I met Helen of Helping Elsewhere she made me cry.
I had spoken over the phone to a lady who was looking for resources of books for a school they were supporting in Mandrem, Pernem Taluka. When asked about the possibility of loaning books, our Bookworm response is first YES, and then WHAT? So I agreed to give books to a project I knew little about and agreed to meet Helen to learn more.
I met with this warm white lady in shorts who asked me more questions that St. Peter will at the Pearly Gates. For many years the Management part of my brain had been put aside and I had been exploring the creative and participatory mode of Doing. Being immersed in a community of children who don’t read, don’t see the purpose and intent of reading and will never know the worlds and learning lost to them, keep me focused on the Doing and making it happen. How to actually get there was far removed.
Helen asked important questions that I had no answers to, but what she picked up on was a desperate need for an evangelist. And this is what Helping Elsewhere has been to Bookworm.
In the past 6 years, we have slowly crept into the Helping Elsewhere portfolio, beginning with small cash donations to support the rental of books to Mandrem School. The next year, in addition to cash donations for buying books, Helping Elsewhere filled the shortfall for our Mobile Van which has changed the nature of the outreach work we do from Bookworm.
Since then Helen, as the Helping Elsewhere ambassador, has picked up all the pieces I drop along the way, the concern about funding and sustainability, the vision to think ahead and think big, because big dreams come from small beginnings and she has helped Elaine and myself think that we can make the impossible possible.
Helping Elsewhere now largely supports our MOP program, an outreach that I believe is giving so much to the community in terms of rich reading resources and language development.
Helping Elsewhere will also constantly endeavour to plug the many gaps in our financial canvas to the furthest extent possible. We are forever grateful.
[Visit Helping Elsewhere at www.helpingelsewhere.com]