Understanding the Murky Waters of Fundraising

If you are like me, a professional working in the development sector, then ‘Fundraising’ is the one of the most dreaded words at your work place.  Even though most of the work in this sector depends on funding from external sources, fundraising often takes a back seat for most of the civil society and community based organisations. This activity is carried out only once the existing resources need to be replenished and are no longer sufficient to support the functions of the organization in contrast to a yearlong activity to raise funds.

What I learned during this year?

It is not easy to give specific answer for this question, but I feel that a lot of things had changed, my everyday habits and way of thinking, I think exposing to different culture help me to be more open minded.  During this year I had more time to look inside my heart and think about who I am?    I become fully responsible for my life; I learnt how to get a head. Also, it is an opportunity to learn how to go beyond my immediate feeling and grow up.

Do not read!

mafalda_mondoToday after reading the entire news report on the Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed in Ukraine with 298 passengers due to a missile attack I left myself drown in anger and depression. Why is it that we live in a world that discharges such rages of hate? As I was questioning this to myself the situation got worse as I started to read the next report on the Israeli bombing on Gaza. Casualties have claimed so far in the last days 200 Palestinian lives and one dead Israeli (and I don´t even want to get started on the deaths of the Palestinian boys). As I kept looking for more information, I came across with the fact that 50 elephants are butchered each day for their ivory trinkets and that we are in the middle of an environmental holocaust with billions of bees dying. Did you know that without bee pollination most plants and 1/3 of our food supply would be gone? Well, I didn´t know that but now I do and if you are reading this now you do to.
Before I started to burst into tears I decided to turn on the TV. The situation didn´t get any better after hearing in the news that there has been 52,000 unaccompanied children from Central America crossing the US border since October 2013 due to poverty and violence in their home countries. As I was turning off the TV the cherry on the top was to culminate the day with the next massacre film thriller.
After all this world reality slapped me hard in the face today I asked myself if I want to live in a world like this? The answer is clearly NO! And I think you don’t want to live in a world where tourist planes are fired down with rockets, where elephants just exist in children books, where bees can’t buzz around us and where kids all over the world can’t run and play free.
In spite of all this happenings I just hope my grain of sand doesn’t get lost in the waves of hate…
Renata Barradas

I Will Remember

One fine April day this year, a disaster stuck in Korea. The definition of “disaster” may come differently to each country, but in Korea, this was definitely one of the worst disasters in our modern history.

April 16th, a ferry sunk down in the Southern Sea of Korea – a ferry that was carrying over 470 civilian passengers and mostly high school students who were on their way for a field trip.

Oak Island

Last month I spent four days of joys and delights; I received an invitation from my lovely friend Carly to spend a vacation at her parents’ house in Oak Island. I was so exciting; it was me first real journey in US, I could not imagine what it would be like.

We decided to start our journey on Frida y night, so we can save one day more in the island. All the way long, we made breaks for dinner and gas, it was a long journey; we spent 9 hours on the way. When we arrived it was almost 2 am, we were so tired and exhausted, but surprise welcoming card and gift I found it on my bed from Carly’s parents, made me feel relaxed, it was welcoming card and gift.

Did you notice that your life in DC is a marginal subsistence?

As a person who studied Economics and Statistics, I realized that last two months I have been hard up for living with limited stipend.

First of all, usually it costs $16 for weekly bus pass in DC. And it has been increased up to $17.5. It means you are spending $6 more on transportation compare to previous month.

Second, one bag of onion was around $2.99 at Giant supermarket (specifically in Columbia heights). Now price of onion is $3.99. It seems living cost in DC has risen sharply.

Social Protection: Why You Should Care

When life happens

When life happens

Prior to 2012, I had never heard the term Social Protection (SP) despite 8 years of working experience in the development sector. I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone reading this might be asking the same question I asked myself two years ago. What is Social Protection and why care?


My Road to Santiago.

As many of you might know, I am a huge Paulo Coelho fan! I know at least thirty other people who would share in this exact sentiment but to be fair I am really his second biggest fan, after my aunt whom I am named after, who first introduced me to the beautiful works of Mr. Coelho in ‘The Alchemist.’
If you have not (yet) read this remarkable novel, it is about a young shepherd boy called Santiago who is on his way from Spain to Egypt to find his treasure. I have read this book at least five times now and last week I was at it again. This time I was truly in awe of a young shepherd’s bravery to leave his sheep and cross ridges and war torn desserts all in pursuit of his treasure. Not that I can be of any comparison to young Santiago’s gallantry, but being in a far away place in the name of pursuing some little piece of my life’s puzzle really resonated with me this time more than ever!
Coming to America is really an overrated concept especially in most developing countries. I remember when I was much younger whenever I would imagine what the Promised Land would look like it always had an American imagery in it strangely! My CRE (Christian Religious Studies) teacher once described the Promised Land as one where milk and honey flowed easily and where everyone is at peace. I am still trying to figure out how my nine-year-old brain concluded this place was called America! Fast-forward to my teen years and I knew that I wanted to travel and see other places but equally surprisingly enough I had no intention of ever coming to this far West of the World! But as Karma would have it I had a months notice to pack for a year or so away…the-alchemist
There are a couple of things I have learnt along my road to Santiago some of which I will use analogy from the Alchemist. Firstly -It is foolish to think that you can just wake up and start your journey towards your treasure and not face any adversaries or challenges. Some of these encounters can well be mitigated but its best to over prepare in every situation and then go with the flow! Secondly- it is of paramount importance to realize this road is everyone’s but this journeys is yours and therefore do not get distracted with what others are doing or not doing. Thirdly- learn when to verbally use Urim (Yes) and Thummim (No) in everyday conversations with others. Fourthly- be present, now, this exact moment and every other day. Fifthly – Not everyone will help you get to your treasure, some people can be disruptions and you must follow your gut feeling or omen. Finally and most importantly, if you really believe in something, the universe or God (whatever you perceive HIM to be) will indeed conspire to help you get there!

How To Change The World…Again


Contrary to your initial reaction, there is a very simple recipe for this- take fifteen Emerging Innovators, and put them in a room. Sprinkle lightly with inspirational leaders and speakers. In 48 hours your recipe to Change the World will be ready!

This is what happened at the American Express Ashoka Emerging Innovators Bootcamp on June 5-6, in New York City. The American Express Leadership Academy includes nonprofit partners from around the globe, including Center for Creative Leadership, Ashoka Changemakers, The Thunderbird School of Global Management, and Common Purpose. By the end of this year, American Express will have hosted more than 50 Leadership Academy sessions in six countries, including the United Kingdom, India, Japan, Mexico, and Canada, supporting more than 1,500 nonprofit and social sector leaders.