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The challenges ahead…

November 17, 2008

The 25th year of SVYM’s foundation is nearing. Come December 1st and we will be completing our 24 years of existence and stepping into the 25th year. When one sits back and recalls our earlier years and our struggles, one suddenly realises that the struggles have not really gone away. If it was the issue of finances then, it still is the issue of finances today. If finding committed and competent manpower was an issue then, it has not changed very much today. What then has changed? In a sense, our understanding of development and development processes has changed. Our own recognition of our abilities and that of the communities that we work with have changed. The expectation of the communities has also changed over time. Our relationships with other NGOs and the Government have also changed. How does an NGO like SVYM with the pressures of money and manpower cope with the demands that such a dynamic environment make on us constantly? How do we learn to manage ourselves and the organization amidst this change?

The answer clearly lies in revisiting the fundamental reason for which we exist. SVYM was started as a response to the decaying state of health provision in this country. We started with the ideal of providing rational, ethical and cost effective medical care to rural India. Over the years, as we understood the community needs and our own abilities, we evolved our Vision and Mission. We realised that the answer lay in looking at an integrated approach to development rather than through the narrow lens of an individual compartment. Over the years, we have evolved into undertaking different activities in the sectors of health, education and community development. As we looked at the larger canvas and found the need for advocacy at different levels, activities in the sector of Training, Research, Advocacy and Consultancy too developed. We had always taken pride in balancing the requirements of our heart and the mind. Even today what has not changed clearly is the fact that we are still driven by the same passion and commitment as we were 25 years ago. We are still concerned that the poorest man on the street is denied health care and we want to do something about it. We want every child to be in school and not facing the risk of a labour situation. We want every family to be ensured livelihoods and economic security. Our own convictions in ensuring that we empower communities to demand good governance is getting stronger day by day. We continue to be one of the few organizations which are constantly learning and trying to demonstrate these learnings through concrete action.

The present global economic crisis is slowly beginning to affect SVYM too. Cash flows are a constant challenge. Fund management is getting to be a tight rope walk with our receivables mounting. Donors are unable to keep up their pledges and promises. Amidst all this, we need to ensure that our commitment to the communities we serve and their development continues to remain our top priority. We need to rediscover ways on managing the current crisis and look at not only surviving but also continuing to do what we do best. Crisis is known to build character; the present situation is indeed a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our inner strengths and character. With the support and encouragement that our friends and well wishers constantly give us, we can be sure of facing the challenges ahead of SVYM.

– Balu

Categories: Musings