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Changing lives – one child at a time – Jaago Foundation

Who says money can’t buy happiness?

Here’s one of the best things you can do with money

Give someone else the gift of education 

It’s simple, it’s life changing and you will leave behind a legacy that nothing can ever destroy.

Nazmul, the child I sponsor with Jaago has graduated to KG-1.  Jaago sent me his pictures with an update, they were taken when he’s doing class-work, with his friends, near the black-board, entering the school premise and so on.  They also attached his report card for the third and fourth quarter examination. Compared to his report card a year ago, I see vast improvement but far more than that… I see a child who is happy to go to school, loves his classmates and engages well with both his peers and educators.

Last year, I received this amazing gift “Soul Food” on my birthday and along with Nazmul’s I also received an update on the kids who were sponsored.

Arafat, Mohua, Muhin, and Monir are all your children and are studying in our Rayerbazar school.  Arafat is graduating from the Reception class, Mohua  from the KG-1 class as an all-rounder, determined Muhin from KG-1 with his love for Mathematics, and the friendly Monir from KG-1.    
Just that single sentence said so much about these kid’s – their perseverance, their determination, their drive for education. How can anyone resist that?
I have written about Jaago on my blog here and here – or you can head over to their website for more information on the amazing work that they do for the children.
So …  go on… spend your money… buy some happiness 😀

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Soul food

Ever more people today have the means to live,
but no meaning to live for.
~Viktor E. Frankl~

A few years ago, on the eve of my 30th birthday, I realized that this was a milestone that I had not expected to reach. I honestly did not in my wildest dreams even think that I was going to live to be 30. Am I ill? nope. Do I have a life threatening condition? nope. What I had was a life that I didn’t particularly like living. What came after that was a realization that my life is not going to change unless I change.

The life I had was two separate entities, one that I lived inside my head and the other that I lived externally. I controlled the external one because the internal entity was running amok in me. I was so focused on all the problems of everyone else and firefighting simply because I was afraid to stop and solve the real fire that was going on inside.

The hardest and the best thing in life has been to be brutally honest with myself. Takes time, practice (A LOT of it) and an infinite amount of patience. Once I got to that point, where I can look at myself, at the thoughts running in my head, the actions manifesting in my life and no longer felt the need to hide from any of it … that’s when I truly came into being. My anger at my own perceived helplessness diminished and instead I found my true voice, me.

I started making conscious choices, I questioned myself constantly and I questioned the long-held believes of everyone else around me. Who was I? and what do people expect from me? Why? Do they have my own best interest in their heart? or are they manifesting their fears? trying to control things in ways that are not good for me. These were some of the questions that I asked myself (I highly recommend others to do the same).

All these questioning, some of which was VERY interesting, led me to make choices that make ME interesting. I don’t have all the answers, sometimes all I get are very intriguing questions but life is not about answers or control, it’s about living free. I lived and I grew as a person, just not the kind that everyone expected.

I gave myself a gift when I turned 30. I sponsored a child’s education with Jaago (http://jaago.com.bd/), I discovered the joy in giving unselfishly without any hope of return and I was hooked. My pledged to myself this year to sponsor more children with another organization – Streetwise (http://www.streetwise.com.bd/). I am hooked on the joy of giving, of changing lives, one person at a time.

This year the interns at my office asked me what I would like as a birthday gift, I requested that they sponsor a child with Jaago. So instead of a material gift (valued temporarily), a gift that will change a life (value infinite) and the girls did just that. Judith and Anne surprised me with a decked up office when I got there in the morning but they had me crying when I unwrapped my gift. I was so happy that I couldn’t stop bawling my eyes out 🙂

This is what I walked into on my birthday morning 🙂

The mastermind behind all these 🙂

My girl .. our intern … a beautiful person inside and out 🙂

The gift that had me bawling my eyes out and will keep on giving 🙂

  

I posted this on my FB page for the blog on a status update, but I think it holds relevance here too.

My fear for most of you is that you will never be rich enough to realize that wealth doesn’t hold what you are seeking.
~Matt Chandler, The Village Church, Flower Mound, TX~

More people than ever before spend their lives earning money in order to do the things they want to, sometime in the future. Only to realize that time has passed, they haven’t done anything much other than accrue bank loans and mortgages on things that don’t really bring them any pleasure. In an all connected world, more people feel lonely and disengaged from those around them. If we stop and ask ourselves why… maybe … just maybe, we’ll change our lives and put more value on the things that really mean something to us before it is too late, before we have lost them, before our time has passed and we no longer have the energy to enjoy them.

As human beings, I believe that we have infinite potential for good and greatness in us. But we have to try, we have to constantly strive and we have to be aware of the fact that it is each moment’s conscious and unconscious choices that make up our entire lives. None of us exist alone, we affect others with our thoughts, our actions, our energies. And if we each make the effort to add, to give, just that little bit extra, whether it’s at home or at work or with our friends, together we can make a big difference.

When work becomes play

“Find what you are passionate about and work will no longer remain work but become play or in other words a pleasure”

I found out about Jaago first from my brother. He was a volunteer there and one of his activities was to try to rope in contributors/sponsors. He knew that I was already sponsoring a child with a street children’s shelter named “Maer Achole” so he figured that I would be more open to the opportunity to sponsor a child’s education with Jaago. And he was right, its hard to refuse a child an education and a meal a day when it can be provided for as little as Tk. 1000 or USD 15. If you stop and think about it for a minute, this is the kind of money that we spend without thinking on dining out in one occassion easily. And for the price of one meal in a restaurant you can sponsor the education of a child for one month, an opportunity, an option that is otherwise unavailable to them.

The kids I sponsor send me Mother’s Day card and Father’s Day card, which I proudly upload and share with my friends on FB. One of them was even inspired to join in and become a sponsor herself. Its the small gestures like this that make Jaago special for me. You know the name of the child that you are sponsoring, they send you regular updates on how your sponsored child is doing in education, their vaccination updates and even cards on special occassions are included. They include you in the life of your sponsored child to the extent that you want to be involved in.

I was driving across the street from Jaago office yesterday with my brother in the car, when he suddenly stated that Korvi (the founder) has started to live in Jaago full time. I was a bit taken aback. Its weird in a very good way that someone as young as Korvi (who I believe is still in his 20’s) has started a charitable foundation like Jaago, but to watch his passion for it is something else entirely. A lawyer by training, the son of an educator and a government service holder, he did not choose to bury himself in the safety of a regular job like most of us do. He chose to follow his passion for charitable work and take it to the next level. The team that he has in place are probably the closest thing that these kids have to a “family”.  They educate the kids, look after their health, give them vocational training, help place them with paying jobs, but most of all, they stop and listen respectfully to what the kids themselves have to say. Didn’t someone say that the family that plays together, stays together? And this family is here to stay 🙂

Kudos to Korvi and his entire team at Jaago for the great work that they are doing.

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