Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about Vittana’s values. What do we stand for? What kind of organization are we trying to build?
There is one quote that was on our first business plan, strategic plan & every other document since founding:
Ridiculing idealism is shortsighted, but idealism without the rigors of pessimism is misleading.
We need very hard-headed idealists who can look into the worst and best of humanity and can create and implement strategies of success.
— State of the Future 2007, Millennium Project
These days, I spend a lot of my time traveling. Fundraising, speaking, sure — but the best kind of travel is visiting Vittana youth in countries all around the world.
I always ask what we’re doing right, how we’ve screwed up, and whether we’re living up to their hopes and dreams. Trust me, they don’t hold back — I’ve gotten an earful a few times!
In the past few months, I’ve been through Rwanda, Jordan and the Philippines. They always remind me of growing up in India — countries of deep contradiction, with pockets of very real opportunity amidst extreme, palpable poverty.
Take Rwanda for instance. What do you think of first when you hear Rwanda? The genocide, right?
We don’t need a Facebook for dogs and we don’t need a 300th link shortener.
Non-profit folks sometimes tease me about techies building useless stuff. (I’m the token techie at a lot of conferences.) But really, non-profits aren’t much better. So often, we just put in bandaids.
How long did it take us to find a malaria vaccine? We’re so close. Mosquito nets are great, but what if we’d really taken a chance and thrown our weight behind a vaccine earlier?