Hangouts are what we usually associate with youngsters, something that’s supposed to be hip, something that’s cool and something that’s almost a Friday evening tradition. All parents can relate to this, whether they like it or not :-).
Well, Akshaya did something very cool today, although not on a Friday but on a Saturday morning. Thanks to the ubiquitous and the master of the internet universe, GOOGLE, Akshaya “google hung” out with Narayanan Krishnan. It was the first time akshaya tried this and so did Narayanan Krishnan and the entire team from Madurai.
It was an event that was planned just a week ago and hence there were quite a bit of last minute adjustments which included sound testing, setting up google hangout, posting messages etc, but there was one adjustment that’s worth noting – Krishnan combing his hair by looking himself in the webcam not realizing he was already live on the web. So Krishnan be assured you look as handsome as you did 10 years ago when you started this journey.
Krishnan started off the conversation with a whole hearted appreciation for all the online voters and the team of Akshaya USA, ably led by Latha, who helped Akshaya win the $10k grant and said this would have never been possible for Krishnan nor his team, to even think of participating in such a competition.
15 minutes into this conversation Krishnan suddenly disappeared from Google Hangout. Sreekanth, the host of the show, got him back with in 5 minutes. The disruption was not a technical one, but an age old problem of power cuts in India. The regular scheduled power cuts that is. Krishnan added that these power cuts happen through out the day in regular intervals for a total of almost 14 hours every day. Thanks to the inverter Krishnan was powered back on google hangout.
Krishnan carried on in his usual energetic and the ever enthusiastic tone. He gave an open invitation to all those who had any doubts or concerns regarding Akshaya or it’s operations to come visit Akshaya and spend a week to 10 days and see and experience for themselves. And the simple reason for the invitation is that while the team can answer/respond to the concerns via email or the phone, it not only is less effective and it also creates additional burden for the volunteers. So instead he encouraged everyone to join the Madurai team and be involved in the activities. The Madurai team was also introduced or rather invited to hangout with the “cool” people.
Speaking about the Akshaya Home, Krishnan pointed out that while the house is built to accomodate almost 450 homeless people, this will be done in a rather phased manner. The first 6 months will have about 50 homeless people. This is to understand what it takes to actually give them a home, what it takes to take care of them and also rehabilitate them.
Krishnan strongly felt that they should be able to stand up on their feet and earn for themselves once they become capable. They shouldn’t rely on Akshaya home. This would also give room to other homeless people. The current status of the home is that it’s 80% completed and all the exteriors including the compound well have been built.
- Working from 4am to 12:00am day in and day out for 6 days of the week, carrying out the administration responsibilities, handling donor requests, feeding the homeless, monitoring the construction of Akshaya Home, the small team from Madurai hardly finds time to think about other aspects such as fund raising, writing proposals for grants etc.
- Currently there is no budget allocation for an ambulance, a fully equipped ambulance that is, but Krishnan felt operating in an environment as vulnerable as this one, there is an absolute need and justification for this. More details will be made available on the Akshaya website soon.
- Other essentials such as refrigerators, beds, cots and other household materials
Akshaya USA would like to thank Krishnan and the team for taking time out from their hectic schedules and hanging out with us. We hope the others who hung out with us found this in person interaction useful. Please don’t that think is the end of it, this is just the beginning.