Shijo Francis and Spandana
How many of you have gone through BEML Layout and felt like saying “nice place this”? Turns out, that isn’t by accident. 7 years ago, long long before Whitefield Rising was even dreamt of, Shijo and a handful of other residents got together and decided to make a difference. BEML being a layout in a very public place, they had little control in who came in and out. As is the case with most such open areas, there was little co-operation. A Rs 50 donation per month for garbage collection was met with scoffs and rejection. But they persisted! Here we are in 2014 and here is a summary of what Spandana as they now call themselves has achieved.
- Rs 5 crore+ worth of improvements
- A senior Center
- Dedicated sweepers who have even been given accomodation
- Regular Events sponsored by businesses nearby
- Predominantly Garbage free
- Lots and lots and lots of trees
- A tennis court that replaced a garbage dump
- Scores of lights
Intangible, but more important
- A deep sense of community
- They have a “vision” booklet! They share this with their corporator and MLA every year. Wow!
- They say, there is no such thing as “lack of time”. (That was super evident seeing the lives of these full time job workers)
- They had no prior experience in any of this work
- They said they were simply not daunted by skeptics. Infact skepticism is also an excuse!
- A fierce bonding amongst the residents -a ” nobody mess with one of us attitude” that they often put to action!
- A sense of pride. It was not uncommon to see folks walking by, picking up garbage
- Senior citizens engaged, occupied and entertained while helping with daily simple chores like Street lights checking
- A strong relationship with the government
Asking Shijo how they swung this, some very insightful answers were unearthed. He says
- Nobody is forced to get involved. Infact we have so many PGs. We just get support from whoever believes in us and we make do with that
- We are very firm when we need to be. If stray vendors set up shop, we are quick to address it
- We get involved when roads are laid etc. We even check the quality of the roads that we have learnt how to do over the years
- We do this because we want to and not because we expect the residents here to be grateful to us. There are many that may simply enjoy the benefits of what we do for the community. But thats fine. We have no regrets.
But here is the stunning statistic. For over 2000 families that reside there, guess how many are engaged in keeping this all going ? 15!! You do the math on what percentage that results in.
So we use this opportunity to launch three more groups to take this as a shining example, get support from Whitefield Rising and launch their own Spandanas.
This Saturday. July 12th. Rain or shine. RSVP here https://www.facebook.com/events/768354626560181/
or here http://whitefieldrising.org/event/alert-key-event-start-your-own-rising/
Three cheers to Spandana.
One thought on “Shijo Francis and Spandana”
Great news for the day! Thanks for sharing Nitya !