We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of family, friends and colleagues as well as people we don’t yet know who are supporting our art and drama project, Make Do Tell.
Fundraising for our project is very new for us and it does not always sit comfortably. But we have learned much along the way, and not all of it is about finding ways to raise money!
Just before we launched this campaign Artists in Community International was nominated as a finalist in the inaugural Australia Asia Arts Awards. Our joy in being acknowledged for the project we ran last year with the children in Nepal was slightly tainted for a moment when we learned we were being acknowledged in the Philanthropy category – and not in Community, where we thought we belonged. I think we had limited ourselves to thinking that Philanthropy was about giving money however, it is more than that – it is about trying to improve the wellbeing of humanity and the community; which is where we do sit, comfortably.
We have spent a lot of time in and run many projects with vulnerable communities and one thing we have learned is that is possible for an individual, a group or a community to make a difference. Someone can have an idea, follow it through, and other people’s lives are totally transformed by that act. It could be considered a Leap of Faith although it probably isn’t; a Leap of Knowing may better describe it.
The Foundations with whom we collaborate in Nepal were both established by individuals who saw great need. One has taken on the responsibility and guardianship of about 20 girls, and educates a lot more. The other supports art and music programs for children in Nepal and Ghana. Amongst our friends, two established foundations to make a difference to the people of East Timor. One works creatively with women in Morocco, another provided music and circus programs in Zambia, another set up a literacy and art program between women in Australia and Afghanistan and yet another created a book to support victims of sexual assault. There are countless examples of individuals who believed they were capable of making a difference and encouraged others to come on board and help.
It is very powerful when others do because their contributions, large and small are used to great effect. It is especially powerful when people don’t have that much to spare but they still contribute.
We are so appreciative of the support that Make Do Tell is receiving from so many people; that support is crucial for our projects to continue. Along the way in this campaign we have received many messages from our supporters who tell us “I can’t go there and help these kids – but I can support you doing that”. One supporter said she no longer sends Christmas cards and sets aside money to donate to community projects.
We know our programs make a difference: we know that an immersion in to learning, making, self expression, having fun, being part of a creative group will have many large and small benefits to the young people who are participating. We know it might be the thing to spark off the imagination, to build the self-confidence, to pass on the extra skills that can help them find a way to reshape or enhance their lives.
But maybe art and drama, or supporting Nepal is not quite your cup of tea … we understand that. However, we really encourage you to find a project that is your cup of tea and support it. Look on the crowd-funding sites; support a local program. When lots of individuals group together and contribute, we are a community and it is possible to raise enough to make a world of difference.