i am increasingly convinced that nothing i have, whether things, abilities, relationships or even my own *life, are mine because of any particular entitlement. it only takes a half-minute of contemplation to realise how bloody fortunate i am. when we were growing up, my parents had no fixed income, and we were supported by people who believed wholeheartedly in what my parents were doing. these were mostly small amounts of money, and while we were never wealthy, we never went without. this money paid for groceries, clothes and education, and as often as we could, books. it seems only right for bottlebroke to give forward, in some way…less out of a sense of ‘charity’, and more out of a sense of gratitude.
my primary concern is with north-east india (where i am from) and the south pacific (where i live now)…keeping it as local as possible. since bottlebroke is unlikely to earn much money, it seems to make sense to find small operations with low overheads, where the money raised is used close to the ground.
[awon shanglai, north-east india]
i’ve known awon for quite a few years now. her vision is to help young people from her village in manipur learn computers and english so they can get better access to jobs and education. manipur is torn apart between various rebel groups fighting for independence from india and a corrupt government whose interest lies in the status quo. and like most war-torn places of the world, it is the people who suffer most. these caught-in-the-middles are the people awon works with, though she is reluctant to register an organisation, given the dubious reputation ‘NGOs’ now have in the state. she is happy to share updates on where she uses the money raised.
[YMA libraries, north-east india]
the young mizo association was possibly started as a replacement for the the zawlbuk, the traditional ‘bachelor dormitory’ where they were trained in tribal welfare, wrestling, hunting and village government. the YMA is now an intrinsic part of mizo culture and social organisation. while i do not agree with all the YMA says or does, i am quite excited at their encouragement of libraries in each locality/village. these are run on a shoestring, and mostly consist of 1-2 cupboards of books. while in a sense run by a central organisation, each of these libraries is independent, and run on the goodwill of the neighbourhood, and an occasional government grant. an old friend, mark zote, has agreed to act as a go-between, and to get updates on how the money is being used.
[RDA hamilton, south pacific]
my short stint with the hamilton group of the riding for the disabled association gave me invaluable experience working with children. the RDA works with people who have physical, learning and psychological disabilities. i have seen up close the quality of work dna wells and her team do, and have probably gained as much from working there as any of her students. you can get updates on their facebook page.
[an ocean of books, south pacific]
i first heard of jeff evans and ‘an ocean of books’ while training at my library job. the org collects and sends books to needy schools in the pacific islands. they accept pre-loved as well as new books from people, companies and libraries. run with very few overheads and with much passion, jeff and his team were among the earliest orgs to come to mind when i first thought of this plan. you can get updates by joining their facebook group.
all possible updates and information will also be posted on the bottlebroke facebook page.