About Me

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We are a student-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aiming to improve the overall quality of life of the residents of Ananthaiahgaripalli, a rural village in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is our conviction that education will provide villagers with the tools to better their sub-par standard of living. For this reason, the project will construct and open a primary and secondary school in the village’s vicinity, welcoming children from the area to attend. The facilities will be free of charge in order to accommodate poor village children. We will also implement a clean water system to supplement the children's education. We recognize the ambitious nature of our project. We are confident, however, that with your support, we can improve the lives of the poor -- one child at a time!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Of angry turkeys and goodwill

I'll never forget the first day I saw a real life turkey gobbling threateningly at us.  Coincidentally enough, we were hard at work in India.  After much anticipation for this day, the climax of our trip, we were finally outside an official looking government building waiting to meet the District Collector in hopes that we could secure his support and endorsement.  While waiting to be summoned, we noticed a large bird out of the corner of our eyes... Moments later, we are being chased by an angry male turkey trying to get these attractive foreign college-students away from his mate-- a shy little girl turkey hiding coyly behind a bush.  I have no idea why turkeys were in the garden of government offices.  Nonetheless, fond memories of thanksgiving rushed through my mind (as well as some fight-or-flight reflexes), and I would have never imagined that come this holiday season, we would be calling upon our fellow friends, colleagues, and family members to donate and help us accomplish our lofty goals.  I promise, we didn't spend every day chasing turkeys.

But of all the blessings to count, we are thankful to have such a strong community to support us in our quest to give to those who have nothing.

Keeping with the holiday spirit, The Sanjeevani Project has entered into the GlobalGiving Open Challenge.  The Open Challenge acts as a medium for nonprofit organizations like ours to mobilize their fundraising efforts and spread the word.  The goal: raise at least $4000 from at least 50 individual donors.  If we meet these thresholds, we will earn  an ongoing spot on GlobalGiving.org, a well-known platform for giving and receiving donations and obtaining corporate sponsorships.  Succeeding in the Open Challenge would benefit us greatly.

Constant fundraising is the only way we can support our efforts to  build Ananthaiahgaripalli a school.  Give back to a worthy cause this Thanksgiving.  And if you donate during the Open Challenge, your donation will mean more than ever.  After a certain point, GlobalGiving matches the money earned, doubling the impact every individual can have on our organization and the children in rural India.  One dollar, 46 rupees, is more than some families make in one day.

We can't win this Challenge without your help.  We would greatly appreciate any monetary donation.  The Open Challenge begins on November 29 and ends on December 22.

If you are interested in donating, please follow this link after November 28th:  www.globalgiving.org/projects/thesanjeevaniproject

On a closing note, here's a glimpse into an afternoon well-spent in Ananthaiahgaripalli with Malli, the servant's daughter.  Her contagious laughter, youthful energy, and inspiring curiosity warms our hearts, motivating us to keep working to give these children the tool they need to succeed: education.  When thinking about donating, please remember that every cent of your money would go toward the future of Malli and children just like her.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What makes up the Social Entrepreneur Support System?
Food for Thought

It's been almost three months since the entire Sanjeevani board has been back and meeting weekly.  We found that transposing the lessons we learned in India back into a US framework has been difficult but worthwhile.  Many changes are in the works, but for now, we're collecting support and motivation through the struggles and successes of our community.  Please take the time to read through these resources, as they make up the essential philosophical and paradigmatic backdrops for our ambitions.

Nikolas Kristof published an article in the NYT this last week about individuals in international development, and the D.I.Y. Foreign-Aid Revolution.
It’s striking that the most innovative activists aren’t necessarily the ones with the most resources, or the best tools. If that were true, a team at the World Bank would have addressed the menstruation problem long ago, and G20 countries would be leading the effort to prevent Congolese warlords from monetizing their minerals. Rather, what often happens is that those best positioned to take action look the other way, and then the initiative is taken by the Scharpfs and Shannons of the world, who are fueled by some combustible mix of indignation and vision...
The challenge is to cultivate an ideology of altruism, to spread a culture of social engagement — and then to figure out what people can do at a practical level. 
by: Tracy Kidder

An inspiring non-fiction biography of Dr. Paul Farmer and, as the title states, his quest to "cure the world."  It deals with the very fundamental issues of social and international development through community involvement and personal investment.  It is the story of Partners in Health's burgeoning success  and why they have been able to make such a lasting and powerful impact on the lives of so many around the world.  Although the majority of humanity does not share Dr. Farmer's level of empathic selflessness, we can all relate to human suffering, and we all have the capacity to make a difference.

"The Empathic Civilization"
Royal Society for the Arts (RSA): Animate

A visual illustration of a talk given by Jeremy Rifkin, an American economist, writer, public speaker, political advisor, and activist, on the the most fundamental human trait that unites us within our divisive spheres: empathy.  Take 10 minutes and 40 seconds to really absorb what he's saying; it may truly shift your perspective on the most basic aspect of human interaction.


The very ability to make a difference in the lives of others is what inspires and motivates us as social entrepreneurs.  Whether your contribution is like that of Nikolas Kristof, Tracy Kidder, or the Arcade Fire (see: Will Butler speaking at Northwestern on his involvement with PIH), in which they write to showcase the efforts of others and garner support, or like that of the individuals actually making the change and investing their lives in the promise of a better future for humanity, the impact is tangible.  It may just be a drop in an ocean, but what if you were that drop?  What if your life is the one being changed?  The Sanjeevani Project is inspired not only by Dr. Paul Farmer, but by any and all of the individuals devoting their youth, health, and careers to social development.

For now, keep up with Sanjeevani in the press:

featured in North By Northwestern, NU's premier online student magazine
Emily Chow
"In mid-July, four Northwestern students — Kurtis Fjerstad, Hugo Massa, Nadine Ibrahim and Victor ‘Vik’ Siclovan — joined Reddy in India for the full immersion experience. Traveling between Mumbai, Hyderabad and the rural village itself, the group was able to gain perspective what the residents in Ananthaiahgaripalli needed. They conducted needs assessment surveys and began visiting various schools in Kadapa to learn from their shortcomings and integrate the positive aspects into their own project."


Take a few moments out of your day and reflect on all of this.  What does it take to make a difference? Help out where it means the most to you.  Donate one day's worth of wages.  If you're a doctor, offer your services.  A student, parent, CEO, dog-walker?  Get engaged in the dialogue.

Peace, love, and social engagement,