2016 has been the Year of Transformation for Project WHY! It began quietly without fanfare and ended with a bang. The mood on day 1 of the year was bittersweet. Everything was on track and all Centre’s were running like a clockwork orange. The children were happy and busy. New activities were numerous thanks to our volunteers and friends. Exams were prepared and passed with success. Holidays saw the return of the dance teacher to the children’s delight and the Centre’s throbbed with loud music and thumping feet. Festivals were celebrated, the perfect opportunity to showcase the newly learnt steps. All in all ‘all was well’ at Project WHY.
Few would have guessed how shaky things were backstage. The coffers were empty and it is only the kindness and generosity of friends and well-wishers that made the ship sail. We all knew that it could not go on forever and that something needed to be done.
It is our dearest friend Kabir who laid the foundation of Project WHY’s transformation when he introduced our work to the Savitri Waney Foundation. The rest is history. The Savitri Foundation bailed us out but that was not all. It decided to extend support provided we took the first steps to the much-needed transformation. So it was time to pull the proverbial socks on and get to work. Policies were finalized, data put in order and new processes drafted. Everyone was and still is getting up to speed on the new systems! The much-needed coat of paint was finally on.
Amongst the many changes: Project WHY inducted some new board members and the help of a consultant who would assist in strengthening existing and building new resources. This is an ongoing process. Savitri extended one-year support to our Okhla and Khader Centre’s and this will allow us to have the time to broaden our donor base and thus move towards sustainability.
That was one side of the story.
The other one is in sync with the Project WHY spirit. In September we started a pilot project within our existing resources. This little project reached out to the very first children that Project Why had targeted way back in 1998: the beggar children of Kalka temple. The program had not worked then, but almost 18 years later, we are able to reach out to these children with our afternoon program. Life had come full circle. About 30 school going children (yes! beggars do send their kids to school) learn every afternoon in the night shelter for women. Let us see how this enfolds.
As said earlier, the year ended with a bang and it would have been a bad one if not for what I call Project WHY’s miracles. Two weeks before the year ended, brought the terrible news of the theft of our computers at the Okhla Centre. It was a huge shock for our children and resource persons. However, a simple message was all it took to get all the computers replaced! Awesome.
So what is the message for the year 2017? Simple: No matter what, do not stop believing in miracles!