I would like to share some ideas and thoughts about collecting people for social change based on my recent experiences in setting up a computing center in Pandav Nagar Pune. You can see details of each step here.
- Don’t restrict yourself to what you currently can. Aim bigger and then you’d see it natural to ask people for help because you can’t do it alone.
- Have a minimal backup plan which you can do if you don’t get much help. Things you cannot do should not stop you from doing things you can.
- Don’t be afraid of the challenges. There will be many, but if you don’t even try, you’ll never overcome those.
- When your actions affect others, be open to them. If you’re genuine they would understand.
- You have to ask for help. If you don’t ask people won’t know they can help. Many of the times if you can ask for a specific help, it more likely that it would be done. Make it easier for people to understand and break down the big tasks.
These two may look conflicting ideas at first but they are not. You might already know about the high jump analogy people say – set your bars higher. Sometimes you won’t be able to cross it if its too high, but unless you don’t set it high, you’ll never reach new heights.
In this particular initiative there was always a risk that I won’t be able to find enough people to help me. So my backup plan was, I would teach alone if I don’t find people. I actually reached that stage once when no one was ready to commit after many talks. But I was pleasently surpriced and overjoyed when I saw a surge of interest from the Free Software community it Pune. It was really heart warming when you had a new person telling me they are interested every day for almost 2 weeks! We have about 14 people in the team and last Saturday 7 of us went to Hutatma Rajaguru school for our first class and installation session.
So when I was talking about a computing center people have many things in their minds and they may not understand what it is. But when I broke it down to “GNU/Linux installation in a school”, many people felt they could do it and said they want to help.
I will keep updating this blog as I learn more or get more ideas. Share your thoughts in comments. I would like to hear what you think and your experiences doing similar activities.