Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A chance to give, and go, back

Volunteers from p3 Foundation play with children at a rural village school in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India.
This post is part of the 100 Days Project
Day 22
At the end of 2012 I shot a promo video for an NGO working on ground-up village development in Kalimpong.  At that time I had the privilege of meeting Saom Namchu who runs the NGO and has a great deal of commitment, passion and ideas, and an amazing ability to get shit done.
Over the last five years or so the majority of homes and rural government schools in the Kalimpong area (hundreds of families and thousands of people) have been afforded access to toilets and a clean, year-round supply of water.  These projects involve a project contract between the NGO and the village.  The NGO supplies skilled labour and materials, and the village, many of whom are day labourers, supply the unskilled labour.  The village makes decisions about their projects and the resources involved at village meetings, which draw on a cross-section of people, and then when both parties are satisfied the projects are signed off.  
As the government is now supplying toilets and water projects, the NGO is moving into education, which I'm pretty passionate about.  Since 2012 it's been my mission to go back to Kalimpong and offer workshops on media production for NGOs and schools, since that's what I know how to do, and because I know from my first trip that contact with the wider world is greatly appreciated by those who are resource-poor.
I assumed it would be a simple affair of me showing up with a few scrounged cameras and having fun with some kids and maybe a workshop with a handful of adults.  However Saom has run with my idea, and decided to create an entire two-day workshop covering social media communications, MS Office software, shooting and editing videos, and photography, with a photographer and film production tutor coming in from other parts of India as well.
So I will be starting to fundraise to pay for my airfare and accommodation quite soon, as well as starting to develop a curriculum.  And it's very exciting!

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