After the 7.8 Earthquake of 25th April, 2015 and a few significant others which followed, all of us had to go into relief work. Although this was a new on the job learning for many of us, we used our common sense and a sense of urgency recognizing how most the affected people had suffered multiple major losses. The two organizations I founded in Nepal Tewa – the Nepal women's fund, and Nagarik Aawaz for peace, decided to work jointly with a synergistic approach. The earlier 2 weeks were spent in grounding systems, values, and our approach. These were premised on a hypothesis that when disaster/s of this magnitude strike, people are taken off their balance and they suffer great losses. This will temporarily paralyze, numb, or traumatize them. But essentially they are the same as any of us. Their values and principles remain the same if not further honed. Their inherent altruistic nature or goodness cannot change. We decided to serve with the same respect that was due to them earlier and not reduce them to be VICTIMS.
Nepal is reeling from the immediate effects of the earthquake that hit the country on 25th April 2015. As the immediate emergency response gets underway and in the reconstruction that follows, it will be crucial for local needs and voices to be taken into consideration and that grassroots groups are part of efforts to rebuild, strengthen, and expand sustainable development in Nepal's rural areas.
‘A Life Lived on the Edge: An Account of the First Ten Years of the Foundation of Social Transformation’ is a new resource produced the Global Fund for Community Foundations. It tells the story of a community foundation in the North-east of India, of the conditions that necessitated its birth, its vision, its struggles, how it came to almost close doors and its slow recovery and renewed direction.
A new phenomenon is unfolding in Brazilain civil society – a new breed of indegenous grassroots grant makers is emerging that supports the movemnet for human rights and social justice in the country. Ten of these foundations are united in the Network of Independent Funds for Social Justice (NIFSJ)- Brazil or Rede de Fundos Independentes para a Justiça Social. Their aim is to increase funding for social justice, gender and racial equity, socio-environmental and community rights.
We spoke to Cindy Lessa, coordinator of NIFSJ, about the aspirations of the network for building a new philanthropic culture in Brazil.
PSJP: How is the philanthropy practiced by members of your network different from the dominat philanthropic trends in Brazil?
It was inspiring to listen to Professor Benjamin Barbar. With reference to his book "If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities", he spoke convincingly why the shift is happening from Nation-States to cities, towns, and metros. In relation to this, since the launch of the book in 2013, the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) has been convening since 2014 to address issues affecting inter-cities and how these can be addressed and tackled as well as how cities can best serve its people.
This is not what I want to talk about – but there are two things here that may be noteworthy even in our field of work.
1. The notion that people can take charge to transform any given situation for the better despite the dysfunctionality of the nation-state/s across geographic/economic divides, and
2. Citizenry at large (even as they shift to increasingly grow more cosmopolitan) or the civil society can be that most amazing vehicle to do the right thing right.
A blog post about an evening with Albert Ruesga by Patrice Relerford: "Quiet leaders are more inclined toward action than talking. These men and women also take the time to assess a situation and map out the best way to proceed. I’m sure the fact that Ruesga seems inclined to think before he speaks has served him well since he moved to Louisiana in 2009."
Find Ms. Relerford's full blog post here: http://blog.mcf.org/2015/02/05/quiet-leaders-and-philanthropy-a-good-fit/