What are your plans in India?

Feb 15, 2005

He was one of the brightest students in his class at IIM. So everyone expected him to take high-flying jobs at multi-national companies. Instead, Venkat went out and started a holistic school in Ahmedabad.

After six years, the chairman of ICICI bank gives him 4 crores in funding and trusts him to "do something good" for India. And he does. Venkat ends up starting GiveIndia.org, an online donation portal for quality nonprofit organizations across India. Most recently, they also organized the first fundraising walk in Bombay; this year, participants raised 2.5 crore rupees with a mere 5% overhead!

So at our 7AM meeting, right before my 9AM flight to Hyderabad, I figured I better make up a good answer to Venkat's question: "What do you plan to do in India?"

  • First, hands: connect directly with the grassroots villagers, with the poorest of the poor, to keep your heart alive with the real human connections. This will foster an intergrated approach to service.

  • Second, head: create opportunties of service, the original CharityFocus mission. To do this, we want to create an empty container, a service Wikipedia of sorts, that allows anyone to post expressions, needs and other information and allows anyone to find that information easily.

  • Third, heart: sacrifice the ego, awaken the heart. Walk from village to village, meditate, fast, and anything else that inspires you to be the change to the core of your being.

Combining all these three values can manifest tons of different "end products" like a stream of good news, a real-time service journey, and an online portal to collect and display service information. How all that manifests, remains to be seen. We'll find out, soon enough. :)

Venkat said he might even join us on the walk!

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"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."