My article for Huffington Post on Happy Feet Home. Support their launch campaign here.
When a child is terminally ill in India, they face a difficult road ahead. Their family is burdened with grief and expenses. Children are segregated from peers in their community due to a culture of fear and taboo for the terminally ill. When families from a rural area travel to a metropolitan city for medical support, they often have no place to live, turning to the streets. The lack of holistic medical and emotional support for a terminally ill child and their family exacerbates the grief and loss of hope. Enjoyable moments in the precious remaining time are limited. Two young entrepreneurs are changing this situation for the better by building India’s first children’s hospice center with the aim of ensuring that children and their family’s last days together are filled with dignity and joy.
Mansi Shah and Abhishek Tatiya are hoping to provide holistic medical and emotional support through Happy Feet Home, a daytime center in Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital (Sion Hospital) that will offer counseling, activities, and memorable moments for children and their families in their last days together. “Even if it is four months, let the child have the best four months ever,” Mansi proclaims. “At Happy Feet Home, we’re giving that kind of support and care. It’s a child-friendly space, colorful, vibrant, and full of joy. You step in and feel happy,” adds Abhishek.
We’re so often “inspired” by the latest social enterprise start-up, flashy idea, and rising stars, but I’m inspired by my friend and StartingBloc Fellow Jessica. Yesterday, I received a touching letter from Jessica letting me know that she is closing her non-profit of four years, Cheti. I’ve known about Jessica’s recent struggles with running Cheti and her incredibly difficult decision to close and let go of something she is so deeply passionate about.
Even more courageous than starting a venture like Cheti, it’s a brave and egoless decision to move on when it’s no longer having the intended impact or sustainability. And it’s thoughtful and important to share the difficult decision, successes, and failures, as Jessica has done with Cheti, and as others have for the Celebrating Failure series in SocialStory.
Being an entrepreneur is difficult. Failure is painful. Letting go is brave.
Jessica allowed me to share her beautiful note about saying goodbye to Cheti below:
A report, by Pablo Sanchez of Roots for Sustainability and Fernando Casado Cañeque of Center of Development Alliances, calls for reframing “bottom of the pyramid” (BoP) to consider access to resources and basic amenities, and not just income. They argue that research and work that measures BoP by only economic factors such as income misses an opportunity for more holistic data and analysis by also considering access to goods and amenities and social factors.
Two recent articles on measuring impact of social enterprises deserve close attention.
One article was in the Guardian, co-authored by Dr. Pathik Pathak and Zoe Schlag. Citing research they conducted in India, the authors explain that:
“Conventional social impact frameworks emphasise the need to isolate impact (what have you changed that you can prove you did alone?) but fail to ask how social entrepreneurs might scale impact through partnership. The whole notion of attribution is irredeemably flawed when it comes to making sense of the social economy and needs to be ditched in favour of something more attune to the dynamics of collaboration, partnership and exchange.”
Photo via Kevin Adler from a Fireside Potluck
A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a Fireside Potluck, hosted by my StartingBloc friend and founder of inthis, Kevin Adler. The topic was one familiar to this blog–failure. (You may remember that Kevin participated in SocialStory’s Celebrating Failure series.)
With nearly 40 strangers cramped into a lovely San Francisco living room, we had a two-hour, open, honest, and insightful discussion on what failure means personally, professionally, and in society. Here are some highlights from our discussion:
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Just over one year ago, I wrote my first blog post. I was very nervous about it, and wasn’t even sure I’d stay committed to the endeavor. But starting a blog has been one of the most beneficial decisions for me–personally and professionally.
It all started when a few colleagues finally convinced me to join Twitter in Fall 2011. Twitter was an amazing gateway into the online ideas and information market. After learning so many new things through Twitter, I started to find my own voice and opinions about the issues I followed. This realization, coupled with my move to India, encouraged me to start a Tumblr to share interesting articles I was reading and videos I was watching.
One of my last pieces for SocialStory’s Celebrating Failure Series.
For the next edition of our series on lessons from failure, SocialStory spoke with Vipin Thek, who works for the Global Office at Ashoka. He previously led the Youth Venture program in India and co-founded an organization in Chennai that works to prevent child sexual abuse.
Here is his excellent advice for changemakers everywhere:
1. There is no failure, only growth
“I don’t follow the concept of failure,” says Vipin. “I believe that if you really look at life, there is no failure, only growth. When we do something that doesn’t go as planned, we need to learn from those experiences and grow from there, and not view it as a failure.”