By Raghav Parthasarasthy, Sri Ranganathan and Sreekanth Ragunath,
Members of the Rang De Bangalore Chapter
The need for a place for the Rang De Bangalore Chapter to have its regular meetings, where volunteers and new initiates would get to interact, come up with campaign ideas, decide to lead or be part of teams carrying out various activities as part of the Chapter, seems to have ended (at least for now)! Jaaga, where an information sharing session was held on 21st Feb 2010, appeared to be an ideal place for our meetings for various reasons, which you’ll find out as you read through this post.
The meeting was attended by 16 people, 6 of them having come for our chapter meet for the first time and were new to the concept of Rang De. Thanks to volunteers for bringing the new people along to the meeting! Social media played an important role in spreading the word about the meet — another tiny example of “Social Media for Social Change.” Jaaga’s ground floor space is large enough to hold at least 50 people at one time, so there’s plenty of room for more people to join in for the next meetings!
A quick round of introductions of all those present was followed by a brief introduction to some of the activities that the Bangalore Chapter has been involved in.
Rang De Co-founder Ram (left) speaks about Rang De and an upcoming partnership between Rang De and the pan-iit foundation.
Ram and Smita, the founders of Rang De, who graced the event by their presence, met and interacted with this growing bunch of volunteers, and shared with us Rang De’s Vision for 2010! They patiently listened and answered all the profound queries that were directed at them, which would probably have gone unanswered in their absence. Vibhore’s presence was a great plus and it was good that he could also bring a few of his friends to join in.
It was a very interactive session, which overshot the scheduled time for the meeting by over half an hour despite regular time-checks! Here is a list of topics that were discussed in depth:
- Previous experiences of Rang De volunteers and team members during field visits, promotional activities, content creation etc.
- Promotional campaigns by Rang De and its Chapters and associated learnings.
- Need to ensure that Rang De Chapters closely interact to share their learnings for cross-pollination of ideas.
- The success of the Knock Out Poverty Punching-Bag campaign.
- Need to improve the Alexa ranking of the Rang De website.
- Need to look for partners in and around Bangalore.
- Ram briefly spoke about a connect with PAN-IIT to provide vocational training to the needy along with guaranteed work.
- Interesting discussion with Anil (who himself runs a NGO in Karnataka) about the Rang De model.
- Need to finalize the structure of the Bangalore Chapter, where each volunteer can identify tasks he/she could own up and execute, to make the functioning of the chapter more effective.
- Expectations for Chapter’s targets to be set by the Chapter itself, rather than Rang De doing it.
- Rang De Holi campaign to be rolled out at a few schools in Chennai and Bangalore. Possibility of replicating the campaign in different cities during the first half of the next academic year, associating it with other festivals and occasions.
- Other such campaigns involving school children to be taken up, to raise awareness among kids and in turn, their parents. Target colleges to seek volunteers and investors.
Even after the formal close of the session which itself was off-schedule by more than half an hour, at least 60 % of the attendees stayed back to discuss various interesting things with the founders and other volunteers. Indeed, really heartening to note the interest among participants!
Rang De Co-founder Smita (right) listens to others in the meet with Bangalore Chapter members and guests.
We hope to host larger crowds at our future meetings at Jaaga for which a schedule will be announced shortly. We intend to hold such meetings on a regular basis, either once in a fortnight or on the 3rd or 4th Sunday of every month. Making use of Wi-Fi internet access and projection facilities at Jaaga, from the next meeting onwards we intend to take first-time investors through the step-by-step procedure, from registering on Rang De website to investing in a borrower profile of their choice! This will hopefully dispel any apprehensions that first-time investors might have about investing online through the Rang De website. So, volunteers who have themselves invested through Rang De and are convinced about the social impact that such investments bring forth, are hereby urged to introduce their family and friends to the concept of Rang De and bring them along for future meetings.
Events such as music programs or plays or such other things, which help bring the volunteer community together and raise awareness about microcredit as well as raise social investments and funds for operations of the Chapter are also being envisaged and suggestions towards the same are welcome from everyone.