I Am a Dreamer, Not the Only One
People say, I am a dreamer but I not the only one, there are many like me, who dream similarly but it’s hard to find them and still harder to connect with each other for a common dream. It’s an interesting happening that has happened on the internet, and needs to be chronicled, as many other dreamers may come on board to serve the cause of humanity and make the dream come true.
It happened so; I wrote a piece for a web portal that highlighted the plight of commercial sex workers in Chennai. It was a journalist piece, based on real life interviews. Thousands hits were made to this story and response that came to suggested that it touched emotional chord and moved a heart.
Yes, I am talking about Yvonne, a journalist based in Stockholm, Sweden, who wrote to me expressing her desire to help such needy and requested me to connect her to a real life mortal who may genuinely looking for help. I could genuinely feel her concern as she kept on pestering me to locate any such person.
Yvonne’s commitment made me think and that triggered a dream. Well I have a huge ancestral house at the Nalanda district in Bihar state of India. The house that’s in a depleted condition has a pound inside and sufficient space to grow vegetables and offered her to convert it into a self sufficient place where an orphanage cum school can be run to serve the cause of humanity
The reason why I am having such a plan is because none of my family members like to go there, none is interested in renovating as there is no returns. The house can not sold because of the simple reason that there are no buyers such a property. So the only option left is to see it go down and become ruins or donate to some charitable organization and let them run it as they like, and finally try running it with help of friends and like minded persons.
The house is located in a village called ‘Dumranwan, some 20 miles from the ancient Nalanda University’s ruins. One can Google and locate the ruins of the Nalanda university, the great seat of Buddhist learning in ancient India. Maybe the map can get nearer to that secluded and neglected village, where that house frozen in time stands quite conspicuously.
I wrote to Yvonne, that I am ready to donate this house and convert it as model school cum orphanage, a center of international standards. This center will cater to students from extremely poor family, whose parents cannot afford them education. Once enrolled, students will live there and get every thing free, food, lodging, books, dress and every thing that one may need. They will play and study in totally new environment, away from filth and squalor of their homes.
In India, for those at the bottom of the society see children as a helping hand in the domestic chorus. The girls do the household work and boys go to work in the farms. The challenge is to locate such students and get consent of their parents to join such an institution. Doing so could be difficult but not impossible as there are always some who can help in such matters.
The students will go up to 12th grade, but to begin with the center will have kids from 0 to three grades and then add on the classes as they grow. The institution will have Hindus, Muslims, Christians, living side by side learning the core value to live together with each other in perfect harmony and bliss.
The school may have sizable Muslim students as they badly need such institution to get training to compete with others in this competitive world. I am talking about the segment of Muslims that sends their children to Madarsas and get religious education but hardly have any idea about science mathematics and computers. The poor Muslim students may get the best of the religious and worldly training in such a center.
When I wrote Yvonne this, she jumped in excitement and wrote to me her dreams, how to make such a place a unique center of learning, create a a harmonious atmosphere where lots of experimentation on learning and training could be done and students are mold in a certain way that they become a decent human being.
Yvonne, who is married to Nick, an Australian and has a child Samuel wrote back to me, “its really feels like a Gods thought with you willing to turn your house into an orphanage cum school and we do our part here to help those in need. One of my main interests is in children and for me it’s an absolute that there will be a NO corporal punishment what so ever and run this place as a sanctuary away from the harsh world; a place where the soul can grow into splendor and by using methods that supports that very growth. And with respect for all walks of spiritual and religious life!
I wrote to her that the project can be divided into different phase. The first will be to do the renovation work of the house. The house is standing though it has broken ceilings, plaster pealed off, and no paint for ages. There is need to repair all that and construct boundary wall and an entrance at the compound. May be one has to give a deep look at the house to have actual estimate of the requirement. My wild guess is the house needs at least $10,000 USD to give it a facelift it. May be less or more, I am not a civil engineer.
The biggest problem there is of power as there is no electricity in that part of the world. So, installation of s of a Genset is must for using the electrical appliances and connecting it with rest of the world. The Genset can run with the help of solar battery, and one has to get one. Luckily, the place is accessible through a motor able road so anything can be transported there.
Once a semblance of infrastructure put in place, more funds may be needed for some new constructions to covert the house into a full-fledged center of learning and training and much more.
Yvonne, wrote to me, *Money may not be a constraint; I have been somewhat of a celebrity before. Then life made me to take a time out being sick etc. But I count on getting back into business and if I do not I still, as I wrote above, have celebrity friends which is good for raising money on a bigger scale. I am very good at raising money and things myself but every help would be good for the bigger picture!”
I wrote her second phase will need dedicated and innovative teachers who can mold the children in becoming a educated and nice human being. Yvonne, has answers to this as well. She writes, “I also think it would be quite easy to get volunteers from Sweden that will work for somewhere to sleep and food. So many Swedes/Scandinavians goes backpacking for a year or two and want to do something meaningful. Then there are many (who may not be backpackers) who want to stay even longer and contribute for the chase of such a wonderful dream.”
I wrote her many dedicated young Indian may volunteer and come forward, to get associated with this project once they realize that the center matches the international standards.
The big task will be to enroll the students and one has to take many factors into account in picking and choosing the students for this center. Once through with it, there will be need to find sponsors for each child, who may monitor the growth of their sponsored child. Those adopting an orphan child have to behave as responsible parents. The gut feeling is with God’s grace all such hurdles can be overcome and nothing can stop those serving the cause of humanity. .
The way forward may be to register a charitable trust and open a bank account and then take donations to kick start the project. The problem is one need to have Indian government’s clearance to get foreign funds. With corruption and nepotism associated with bureaucracy, getting such permission may not be a easy job and I remain skeptic about this project. I wrote to Yvonne, in a lighter vein that this dream can only become a reality if a fraction of money stacked by the Indians in cash heavens abroad can be diverted to this project.
Yvonne feels otherwise and is convinced that this project will take off. She writes,”Well there are bottlenecks for anything one may like to do and this may not deter from achieving the goal. I have been dreaming about how to get all the “left over” wealth from Sweden to India. You can easily get free, not the latest but very good, computers (by the numbers) for example for free by people just swapping to the latest model, or big companies just giving away due to updating. And almost brand new furniture and all kinds of things; cell phones etc. We have a shipping company just beside us and I will pay them a visit (and maybe bring some of my celebrity friends) and ask them to ship for free. And of course also completely new things that people are willing to give for a good cause. (Toys are so easy to get!) I mean it’s quite easy to get the things we would need material wise as long as someone are willing to ship it cheap or for free (the big cost is to ship from here – so expensive). But that is a later thing.”
Well that’s the way two persons, quite unknown to each other, come together in the chase of a common dream. Both feel there are other who too may be dreaming on similar lines and are welcome on board to contribute in their humble way towards the realization of a noble dream.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at email@example.com
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