Earlier this spring I was lucky enough to participate in the University of Notre Dame’s Nonprofit Executive Program sponsored by the Mendoza College of Business. Fifteen leaders from both local and national organizations spent time learning from top thinkers in the nonprofit world and learning to better collaborate with each other.
One exercise we outlined a new campaign for The Rhema Project. Scott Jackson, a great thespian and director of Shakespeare at Notre Dame came up with the idea to take one of Mahatma Gandhi’s most renown quotes,
” Be the Change you wish to see in this World”
and refashioned it to reflect what we know is true and will become the value of the Indian girl child in the near future.
“She’s the Change We Wish to See in India!”
Here’s what we know. Even (specially) in villages and communities that practice female gendercide (infanticide, feticide and discrimination) the closer we can keep the baby girl to her birth parents the more quickly the family, village and community transforms itself to one that loves and values its daughters. To us living in the west this seems not only counter-intuitive but possibly potentially life-threatening to her. But with our Indian staff working in these villages on a daily bases the transformation of value is simply astounding to witness.
The person (baby girl) with no perceived power, influence, education or wealth can do what no government, politician, high caste or westerner can – transform a culture from within.
So, here’s what we did. We purchased these rag or circle dolls from an organizations that rescues homeless women and their children from the streets and teaches them not only the skills of sewing but guides them toward understanding their real value.
Second, we will give one of these rag dolls to people that become part of the Circle of Rhema’s Friends – donors that are willing to stand in the gap and help us change the destiny of another Indian girl baby with a donation of $420/yr or $35/mo.
Here’s what is amazing – most of us think we are more like a newborn Indian girl than we would like to admit. Almost every day someone decides not to act because they falsely believe they can’t make a dent in changing the fate of nearly 3 million Indian girls that do not survive to see their 2nd birthday. Truth be told, most days, I question my sanity in believing that a small, start-up nonprofit located in northern Indiana lead by a guy with limited skills and resources can help change a cultural value held by people living nearly 9,000 miles away.
But then, I remember what I have seen in the life of baby Rhema and the thousands of girl babies just like her accomplish through their life throughout South India – and I believe!
Who wants to be a part of the first 50 of Rhema’s friends?