A note of thanks

A shout-out to our amazing volunteers

who made the 2017 - Lead Like A Girl challenge a success

 

“Volunteers don’t necessarily have the time, they just have the heart” - Elizabeth Andrews

 

We are a 100% volunteer based organization. Everything that Go Laadli has been able to accomplish has been due to some amazing work by our remarkable crew of volunteers. This blog post is a humble attempt to acknowledge their contributions for the 2017 Challenge.*

 

The work horses : people who did the heavy lifting

The anchors: For a start-up non-profit such as GoLaadli, we spent the first few days and weeks trying to crystallize our short and long term goals. This early phase represented a time when we were hungry for candid feedback, validation of our ideas and 'Aha!' moments. In essence we were looking for people to back what we thought we could do. Fortunately, we found some awesome people who provided us with excellent suggestions, reviewed our material, gave constructive criticisms and sent in encouraging words to keep our engines going.  We met over chai, chatted up on walks, communicated by emails, skype, phone calls, whatsapp and what not. These people helped us from the beginning till the very end; they have been our pillars of strength – we call them our anchors.  They deserve a huge round of applause. Go Laadli is eternally grateful to you. Thank you!

The evaluation task-force: Credit for completing the last lap of the Challenge goes to a team of truly wonderful people – focused, dedicated, passionate and extremely valuable – the judges for the contest. We would like to thank each and every judge for their deep, objective and detail oriented evaluation of the submissions received. Your perspectives added immense value to the Challenge and we are indebted to you for your commitment and the quality of work. We must acknowledge that the evaluation effort was quite taxing on the team – it required extensive reading, a lot of empathetic listening and numerous late night interviews to accomodate the time zone differences. You made it look easy and adjusted your personal schedules to fit this time-consuming and tiring effort in your already packed lives. On behalf of our winners and contestants, thank you!

 

 

The people who did the heavy-lifting

 

The teachers: our dependable forces on the ground

None of this would have been possible if we did not have the opportunity to partner with really dedicated school principals and teachers who introduced the challenge to their schools and ensured seamless student participation. To many students this was a new kind of opportunity and had its own learning curve. We benefited greatly from the efforts by school faculty to explain the concept and encourage students to participate. We deeply appreciate your acknowledgement of the issue Go Laadli is trying to address. Being able to have school authorities as partners is a shot in the arm for our team as we envision strong partnerships in realizing some exciting programs we are planning for the near future. You were our forces on the ground. Thank you! We look forward to working with you again next year with more candidates!

Teachers and school faculty who facilitated the challenge

 

The mega-phone peeps:  who spread the word to places we couldn't have

No startup is of any value without good marketing and outreach. For the 2017 Challenge we depended heavily on our existing relationships and newly formed personal networks to spread the word in India. As exhilarating as it was talking about it to teachers in India, we have to confess that it was a logistical challenge! Late night phone calls, emails, fervent whatsapp chats, more emails, more whatsapp chats, Facebook connections and Linked-in introductions were common. Our first, second and third tier of professional connections and whole ballast of social and personal networking finally paid off as we were able to recruit a healthy number of contestants in this pilot.  A HUGE shout out to everyone in the numerous threads and communication chains who went out of their busy schedules to connect us with their friends and circles. 

The people who spread the word

 

Great collaborators : partnering organizations who provided critical logistics support

Global Cleveland: We are extremely thankful to Global Cleveland for being our fiscal sponsor through the formative parts of our journey. Without their timely help we could not have met the financial goals in our first year. It was an honor to be associated with your group. Your support provided us with the much needed confidence boost to keep going, sometimes even under uncertainty. Thank you!

Teach for India, iTeach Schools, Hriday Shan and Asha for Education: For this year's Challenge, we depended strongly on NGOs working in India at grass-roots level to gain access to participating schools. Not every effort to make a connection worked for us, but there were NGOs who went out of their way to help us execute our vision. We thank you for being the conduit to relay our message to your network of schools and facilitators. We look forward to working with you in greater capacities.

Participating schools: We reached out to many schools, and being a new organization we expectedly missed out on some great partnerships. That is why we truly value the collaboration we were able to have with schools that participated in this challenge. We all know how stressful it can get in high schools with impending board exams and preparations. We deeply appreciate the participatory schools publicising this challenge despite potential resource and time constraints. We hope that your interest in this program will be beneficial for the students in the long run. We look forward to working with you again in 2018. 

 

The designer : who transformed a boring document into a delightful work of art

             Jinha Servais (Graphic Designer)

One of our very first volunteers, Jinha was critical to getting our Challenge off the ground. A brilliant graphic designer, she single-handedly designed the publication material for this year’s Challenge. Jinha’s creativity transformed a hitherto un-interesting, content heavy and potential intimidating source document into an inspiring, attractive and engaging workbook, which has since then been very highly praised by the students, teachers and our reviewers. Apart from her talents, her ‘can do’ and ‘always ready to help’ attitude benefitted our group immensely at critical moments in the challenge. Her art, her love for our cause, and her reliability made her an amazing volunteer to work with.

You are a star, Jinha - we are privileged and honored to have worked with you and cannot thank you enough!

 

 

The board of directors : our stewards and passionate cheerleaders

Last but not the least, I would like to thank our board for believing in our mission from its very inception and for supporting the cause through ups and downs. Without your honest feedback, keen foresight and constant availability to discuss and brainstorm ideas, we would never have been able to realize our goals. Thank you for going above and beyond your expected and legal responsibilities. Thank you for your service, dedication and loyalty to the cause. I look forward to working with you as we influence change, shift mind sets and reshape the future for our girl and women leaders!

 

*Note: This write-up does not include volunteers working on projects other than the 2017 Challenge.