INTO Giving raising $1 million to help schoolchildren and their teachers was a gigantic feat. When we saw we’d reached that million-high orbit, a thrill raced through us. We knew we’d done something monumental.
That ‘we’. That ‘we’ is important.
We, in this case, means thousands of INTO students and graduates from across the world, thousands of INTO employees and faculty, INTO’s global network of agents, INTO University Partnerships and university partners, and INTO’s founder.
But a million dollars raised to help schoolkids and teachers. There are three ways to look at it:
- You think, first, of all the people it’s helped, and how. That £1 million has built new schools and fixed up other schools that were in ruins. It’s opened IT centres and kept them running – IT centres that aren’t only for schoolkids, but their teachers, their families, their communities. That million has provided teachers with safe places to live, has created new school courses, has meant kids whose families are startlingly poor have food when they’re at school (you’re not going to learn when you arrive at school on no food and remain on no food all day long). That million sticks up for girls who are at great and everyday risk of being excluded from school because they’re girls (and you think of your sisters, your mother, your partner or friends and imagine it was them instead of someone else’s sister, someone else’s mother or partner or friend). That million is also going to bat for refugee schoolchildren, for kids who have seen war on their doorstep, who know grinding, unsheltered poverty, and fled – with or without their families.
- You think of individual people helped, like Sonia in Afghanistan. Sonia is 21-years-old, the daughter of a rickshaw puller. Her family arranged her to be married when she was 15-years-old. Her husband was abusive, something that increased when she gave birth to a disabled child, before abandoning her at her parents. It was very difficult for Sonia’s father to maintain the cost of her and her child. Moreover rural Afghanistan society is not friendly for an abandoned woman. But Sonia didn’t give up. She looked for opportunities to earn a living and when the position for a librarian was announced, she applied and was accepted. Sonia is determined to stand on her feet and has the drive to do something with her life, and learned library work and computer use very quickly.
- You also think of everyone who has donated few dollars or pounds here, a few there. And with that how none of those people, who gave what they did, are almost certainly never going to meet the people they’ve helped. That, to me, is what adds weight to the whole thing: it’s philanthropy in its truest, most altruistic sense. If you can imagine digging up a lump of philanthropy, like it was gold, straight out of the clay, how it would look like in its raw, natural form, glinting dully in the light, it would look like what’s happened – and is happening – at INTO Giving. INTO Giving is thousands of people, across five continents and hundreds of countries, giving what they can here and again and again, for people they don’t and will never know, and not expecting anything in return. Which is another way of saying that ‘we’ also means you. Never forget. Thank you
Author: Tim O'Brien
Tim is Vice President, Global Partner Development, INTO University Partnerships