Archive for April 2008

LETTERS!!

April 29, 2008

When you want to touch someone, send them a letter! When was the last time you wrote someone a letter? Not an SMS (txt msg) nor an email but a REAL, hand-written with paper and pen, sent in a stamped envelope letter.

Not long ago, for many of us, writing letters was the only means of communication over distances. But now, the addiction to instant communication has made us treat the art of writing someone a letter some kind of an ancient art-form. Moreover, the speed of SMS and emails is not fast enough for some of us. A bevy of abbreviations being invented these days leave people like me fazed. And whether we realize it or not, there is a great danger in the loss of the letter.

Letters have been made redundant by electronic communication which lacks a physical presence unless it is printed out (which governments and environmentalists discourage these days). This means that emails of love (which would once have been love letters); conversations with siblings or pals about families and friends will never be available to historians to discover aspects of our lives today. We are slowly becoming more and more isolated and insular in our views. The internet has broken down communication barriers on a global scale, but it has also built new ones on a local level.

If you think about the importance of letter writing throughout history, you will reckon that most of what we know about the beliefs, ideologies etc of many famous historical figures has been collected from their letters – personal and public correspondence. Letters are useful to historians because the character of famous people and their thought processes can often be revealed more clearly in informal communications (letters) than in official documents (biographies, textbooks etc).

A letter is a personal thing, even more now because we receive so few of them. It is all about sharing, it implies reciprocity and creates a two-way relationship. Letters matter because they are personal in an increasingly disconnected world, and because they take time and effort to produce. In short, writing a letter is giving a gift of oneself.

So, today, make a small gesture that will bring someone bit of happiness. Think of someone you care about, turn off your computer, and write them a letter. Who knows, you may soon be getting one in return ๐Ÿ™‚

Srivyal Vuyyuri (www.sphoorti.org)

BOOKS!!

April 26, 2008

Enlighten us, donate books

Help us get ENLIGHTENED, donate books – textbooks, notebooks, scrap books, drawing books, graphs and maps.

Sphoorti Foundation
http://www.sphoorti.org
919490120168

Abundance Thinking & SPHOORTI

April 26, 2008

One of the biggest mistakes that many charities, especially orphanages and similar organizations do is adopting a scarcity thinking vis-a-vis abundance approach.

Most people behind charitable organizations view the Universe of Donors as fixed and imagine that they live in a world where resources are limited. Thereโ€™s never enough time or money or people. Everyday is a struggle for for survival of some kind and a view of the future hardly exists.

For those who believe in abundance, the size of the Universe of Donors is not fixed, it can grow further and without any upper bound.

The goal, therefor is not to figure out how to claim your part and to hold onto it. The goal is to figure out how we can grow the Universe so that everyone can have a larger slice . These people live in a world where resources are abundant, where one can always find lot of support, the money and the people if ONLY one can think differently. They do not have to worry about for survival, sustenance etc. Their focus is on how to grow the pie so that their slice can get bigger.

So, does this kind of thinking matter …..??? It does matter and it makes a HUGE difference.

Abundance-thinking organizations see an opportunity – be it miniscule or substantial, everywhere. While scarcity thinkers can only imagine and see barriers and problems, abundance thinkers see opportunities in challenges. Abundant thinking frees an organization from the notions of cynicism, insecurity and incremental approach towards mobilizing support.

Such thinking helps in seeing possibilities of expanding the Donor pie continuously, leading to more support from different quarters.

This is one of the concepts that SPHOORTI has been adopting from Day One and has helped us immensely. We have always held the view that the world is full of great souls waiting for an opportunity to do good and we know that the number of such people will only increase as we research and communicate. This is our ‘Abundance Thinking’.

Such thinking frees our mind of all kinds of insecurity and the opportunity to concentrate on our mission – shaping lives of underprivileged children. And fortunately, in our journey, we have been meeting some really great people who are ever willing to extend material and moral support.

How then do we perpetuate this Abundance Thinking ??

Seth Godin, one of my most beloved writers, suggests a way. We can live in abundance in any situation by always focusing first on what we can give. Not on what we can get out of life, but what can we give back to it? The testing part is being consistent all the time, not just when it is convenient to us. If we WANT to, we CAN!!

This again leads us to another core belief – the responsibility to GIVE to our friends in return to their wonderful support to SPHOORTI.

What best CAN we GIVE our donors, sponsors and all our well-wishers.

As an organization, it is our moral responsibility to be effective and efficient, transparent and accountable to our friends. That is the least expectd anyways. But what further can we GIVE that makes us stand apart as an organization. In addition, responsibility to serve our Donors is huge since most of them take time out on their weekends, spend 2-3 hours in travel to spend an hour with the kids. More importantly, having been though this travail, they still come back to meet the kids in the following weeks.

This only increases our URGE to perform to their expectations and GIVE more.

So, ALL our kids GIVE is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, give a MEMORABLE experience each time our friends visit SPHOORTI. The little ones make their friends, part of their FAMILY from day ONE. And surely we want to GIVE them MORE love and MORE sweet memories in every visit.

And with this THINKING, we hope to join forces with more altruistic folks in future to make a difference to more children in need.

Srivyal Vuyyuri
www.sphoorti.org
9490120168

Kids take a break .. finally

April 23, 2008

After toiling for more than a week writing annual exams, our children finally get their due – summer holidays. Many of of the kids will go to their native villages and are expected to return by May first week.

Last Sunday, our kids went to Ravindra Bharati to take part in First Ray Foundation’s 1st Anniversary celebrations. As usual, their dances were very good. These were the same dances they performed in Vasavi.

This summer, we will have the kids learn new dances, for at least 10 different songs. If we get volunteers to teach dances, that would be awesome, else, we will make do with Youtube videos.

Any of you interested in teaching dances, please let me know – 9490120168.

Srivyal Vuyyuri
www.sphoorti.org

Javascripts on Sphoorti site (www.sphoorti.org)

April 17, 2008

Some of you would have visited Sphoorti website (www.sphoorti.org) and noticed some scripts on the home page (the donate button and the routemap link) and also the Gallery page. The scripts are awesome and incredibly simple to implement, and most importantly they are available for free. You may search on Google for info on how to use these scripts. And wherever you can, I urge you to use these javascripts.

The scripts are

1) Prototype.js and Scriptaculous.js – I will be indebted all my life to the creators (Sam Stephenson and Thomas Fuchs resp.) of these scripts

2) Reflection.js

3) Three files for the iPod Coverflow effect – you will fall in love with this one ๐Ÿ™‚ (www.classycode.co.uk/coverflow)

4) Instant.js and Corner.js

5) Lightview (www.nickstakenburg.com/projects/lightview)

6) Lightbox (www.huddletogether.com)

We will keep using more javascripts as these awesome programmers keep developing new and exotic stuff.

Srivyal Vuyyuri (www.sphoorti.org)

The Worse (Hindi exam) is over

April 17, 2008

All these days, I have been a little tensed about the children’s performance in the ongoing annual exams, but my worry grew because of the Hindi exam. Most of our kids never had any exposure to Hindi before coming to Sphoorti as most were in government school then.

Even now, after a few months of schooling here, many do not understand the meanings of words written in Hindi. Now that the exam is over,we have to specifically concentrate on improving their knowledge and exposure in the language.

Teaching kids how to read and write in Hindi would be our priority item besides painting, dancing and music. Any volunteers, please write to me at srivyal@sphoorti.org.

We will also goad, wheedle, coax and cajole kids into conversing in English more often and gain fluency in the near future. Saanthwana’s PC would help us in doing so. I am planning to use Callan’s (www.callan.co.uk) method to teach spoken English.

We have made some changes to our existing diet plan. We have replaced morning Ragi porridge with curd rice and milk at night with butter milk. We will increase the intake of buttermilk as summer progresses.

Srivyal Vuyyuri (www.sphoorti.org)

Sunday and Monday 13th and 14th Apr

April 15, 2008

Sunday was awesome for the kids (as usual). But this time, they also studied for sometime. We had a few visitors – Vamsi (Infosys) visited Sphoorti along with his wife and parents. Incidentally it was his wife’s birthday and they chose this day to donate new clothes to all our kids. We had already got the clothes stitched and readied for distribution. Everybody was happy, the kids; Mr and Mrs Vamsi and his parents too.

Sampath (Saanthwana) visited Sphoorti after quite some time on Sunday. His cousins brought lunch for all to mark their son’s birthday. The lunch was sumptuous and delicious. We also had the opportunity to meet a gentleman – a real estate businessman who is embarking on an audacious task to build a Home for 100 children soon. He visited Sphoorti to get a feel of what happens in a Home like ours. Glad that we get to meet people who want to enter this field.

Sri Rama Navami was well celebrated by our children. They went to the Temple for Kalyanam, Paanakam and Annadaanam. For the better part, the day was full of festivities and excitement. It was Aswini’s birthday and she distributed Mysore Paak sweets to all the inmates.

In the evening, a lady visited Sphoorti to admit her children in the coming months. Hers was a very moving story. Her husband physically harassed her for years and one fine day deserted her for good. She has three children, two sons and a daughter. The youngest son is mentally retarded and has been placed in Sri Vidhya Center for Special Children (www.srividhya.org). She wanted to admit the elder children here.

After cross-checking with Sri Vidhya’s Director Shanti Venkat, we agreed and assured the lady that the children can stay at Sphoorti starting May.

Each time I encounter, such people whose lives are full of grief and despair, I realize that it’s just a matter of luck that I am NOT an orphan, NOT a destitute, NOT illiterate, NOT a physically NOR a mentally challenged person.

These PRIVILEGES are meant to be shared with our not-so-privileged brethren. And we hope SPHOORTI (www.sphoorti.org) could be your platform to do so.