Where is Monja?
The same questions stream in for the past year. “Where are you and what are you doing?” my friends ask. “I’m up in the Himalayas…well most of the time. “ I reply. “So what’s the news with Monyati?” they continue to ask.
For more than a year I travelled to many distant corners of India and beyond, travelled a few times up and down the country, sometimes by bus, train, car and on foot. I was invited to stay with and learn from villagers in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, worked in the office of the richest man in India, slept on wooden ashram benches in Kerala, lived on top of 35,000 sheltered cows in Uttar Pradesh, embarked on pilgrimages above 18,000 feet in Tibet and reached literally the remotest Indian villages in the deep Himalayas where the last signs of civilization and any human soul were long left behind. You may ask what all this has to do with Monyati. A lot….it changed our outlook towards poverty. Amended our motivations and activities. Challenged our concepts and realities. Rewrote our purpose.
Creating positive change does not require complex methods. It is not nurtured by emotions nor passion. It is acceptance along side commitment and courage that allow for change to flourish. Listen, act and move on with gratitude are Monyati's principles of giving. It is then when we witnessed roles reverse and concepts dissolve. Received much more than we gave and learned much more than we taught. Witnessed external and internal life changes. Realized true wealth with no form nor definition. We humbly acknowledge that we do not aim to change the world, yet we responsibly commit to give to those who need as if we give to ourselves.
And so our journey continues....we surpassed four years of successfully running our rickshaw and tuktuk social enterprise in Madagascar and identified 20 new rickshaw pullers to benefit from our program. Till date more than 60 drivers received their own rickshaw and tuktuk. This sums up to more than 250 family members that now enjoy their own micro-business, increased income and improved living conditions. I welcome you to visit our Facebook page to read real tangible feedback from our rickshaw and tuktuk drivers. We successfully completed a computer and digital learning tool project for a rural school in India and launched a new micro-business venture which empowers women to own cows and to run their own micro milk-enterprises. For those who missed the news: we also completed our registration in Germany earlier this year and can now offer tax benefit to all our German donors as well.
My gratitude to many new and old friends. Thank you for joining us and for traveling together on this journey, for reaching out your hands to learn from each other, for your trust and inspiration. You are welcome to get involved, gift your skills, contribute financially or share your observations.
I wish you all the best for 2017!