Sometimes One Email Is All It Takes
One of the key takeaways from Michele Obama’s Becoming was the idea of approaching people because you admire what they do, you want to be apart of the idea, you want to learn from them, express appreciation for their work or because you feel their presence could add to your journey in some way.
I decided to turn my thoughts into action and email this woman, Surabhi, I got to know about through the magic of the internet. I read an article titled, Women at leisure- a photo essay on pastime as a feminist issue. It piqued my interest instantly. A few minutes in and I was in a deep rabbit hole, reading every caption of the simple yet complex pictures on the page. I think the project resonates with people so much because, in a world where women are disproportionately burdened with household work, and constantly face their work being devalued, the simple act of leisure becomes a radical feminist act.
I then discovered that Surabhi is also the founder of Sajhe Sapne (shared dreams), a young social enterprise working to upskill girls from rural India. As I found the work very interesting I sent her an elaborate email, explaining how I was open to committing my time to the organisation. She responded within hours saying, “Itna bada email likh dia, ab toh phone pe baat karni padegi” (Now that you have written such a big email, we should connect on a call.) Within three days of sending the first email to Surabhi, I started volunteering for Sajhe. This was slightly over a month ago.
It has been a journey full of excitement, empowerment and absolute craziness. I initially began writing this blog in hopes of mobilising people to support the crowd-funding campaign that we launched on 9th November. I felt most at home, leveraging my writing skills to reach an audience and appeal to donate. I guess I should have known better.
At Sajhe, we have no plans of letting people stay in their comfort zone. Instead, we want to introspect, ask ourselves difficult questions, be in uncomfortable situations and push to grow and learn. For me, this meant learning Canva on the go and creating content for all our social media pages.
To provide more context, as to why this was so challenging, the fundraiser was launched a day before I was to join my new full-time job with another organisation. The campaign that was designed to raise 25 lac in 60 days, went what can be best described as, viral. We ended up reaching the goal in 4 days!
And that’s a good thing!
You want it to go viral.
The only problem was that we were better prepared for a slump than a boast. In Surabhi's words, we didn't have the content needed! So, I spent that first day sitting in my Office chair for fourteen hours straight, getting inducted into the new job and creating posters on Canva.
As I write this, I am wondering why did I do it? I could have said I am unavailable. Or that I do not know how to do this. Or that I’d rather help with something else.
I think the best way to describe why I did it and continue to do it is for the people. The Sapnewaaliyan at Sajhe Sapne have an infectious energy. Something about them makes you want to be better. It is because you are surrounded by a group of these amazing women all from various backgrounds, sitting in different parts of the world, that you feel confident, empowered and hyped to even conquer the world. I guess it is also because when someone believes in their work as much as Surabhi does, it rubs off on you. You get excited about achieving those shared dreams.
So why am I writing this? I am writing this to convince you to send the email, DM or WhatsApp message that you have waiting in your drafts. I know it feels scary and the anxiety of being rejected is too high. I have felt it too. And I understand convincing yourself that now is not the time, is the easier choice. But I promise it is worth taking the chance. Among the many rejections might sit that one acceptance that will alter everything for you. On the other end of that unsent message might be the best journey of your life waiting to happen!
As for Sajhe, there is a lot of work to be done. We are beyond grateful for the support we have been graced with and want to handle it with the utmost care, honesty and sincerity. As Surabhi’s father said, we now have thousands of eyes watching us, so we have to try and make it worth their while.
(If you are interested in staying updated of Sajhe Sapne’s progress, click here.)