Gautam Dada At Our NGO Retreat
Posted by Smita Navare on Nov 29, 2016
When I was in school, Vinoba-ji asked me, "What is your school passing marks?" I said, "33%." Vinobaji replied, "So the education system is implying that 67% of what they teach is not relevant and meaningful?"
There's a danger for NGOs to become driven by donors and an impulse to scale up. There is nothing wrong with scaling up, but first we must check if we are doing our core work with quality. Best not to short-change quality for growth. If we do not need funds, there is no need to take the donations. We can refuse them with the trust that when we need the money, it will come.
When we give a lot of money to disaster-affected areas, we can end up making people dependent on handouts, and dismantle the culture of work as well as the local infrastructure. After a disaster in one village, we said to the villagers, "Work for 4 hours and earn the help." Only in that village was growth sustainable.
On reflecting on what Gautam-dada shared, as well as what all of us in the retreat expressed, I think the transformation from manufacturing to gardening should also be with vivek buddhi ("discerning intellect"), as human gardening is a little different, because we can use our intellect to question is whether we are serving nature and healing humanity or resisting it and harming ourselves.
Unlike the plants, we are human beings and we can facilitate this process using our intellect. Thus, we have a bigger responsibility for our garden’s creation, and in turn, we are tilling the soil for many more beings, and using vivek (discernment) is an aspect we need to be mindful of.