Thursday, December 31, 2009

Many hands make... more work, light work, better work, fun work!

This is a photograph of all those who contributed to making the campaign a success AND who were present on the final day. It's a photograph that misses many. But here's a who's who of this year's campaign-makers. Here's a very personal post to tell you a little about everyone and to acknowledge their work.

No thanks though, because they are Prajnya and one cannot thank oneself.

Anupama Srinivasan, our Campaign Coordinator, must go first. From conceptualising the themes that marked this year's campaign, to fundraising very successfully, to reaching out to new constituencies and partners, she had lists, and lists of lists, and schedules for making lists and following up lists that warmed the cockles of my heart! But more to the point, she got through her lists with alacrity and there were hardly ever things backlogged because they had been left unfinished. Anupama ran this year's campaign smartly, systematically and diplomatically and the result was that we were really able to build on last year's legacy and reach out to a much larger audience.

Subhashini Selvanathan, Prajnya's administrator, is integral to every part of every activity of Prajnya's. This year, her engagement with the campaign went even deeper and she was an active contributor to planning and process. She has also been the person who has got things printed, copied, bound, distributed, mailed. Without her, it is only honest to say, we would not be able to manage to do a fraction of our work a fraction as well.

Vasughi Adityan came to Prajnya in the summer but by campaign time, she had become an important member of the team. She only takes on what she can definitely accommodate in her schedule but we have learned that when she takes things on, you don't have to worry about them for one second more. The roundtable for support services providers was Vasughi's idea and she put it together in just three days!

Sweta Narayanan, a part of Prajnya's core team, moved back to India the night before our press conference and led the media outreach for Prajnya. Hamsini Ravi joined her by the fourth day of the campaign and handled press releases as if she had been doing it all her life. Because of Sweta and Hamsini, we were able to be more organised and ambitious in getting listings, stories, photos out.

Here, I want to mention Meera Srikant who volunteered to do a couple of features on the campaign and Sumita Pai who volunteered to edit. Meera wrote some of the curtain-raiser features and she also took responsibility for collecting logos from partners--a very important task that needed a responsible person. Sumita got us started on 'Call for Help.'

Perhaps the most substantive beginning we have made with this year's campaign was the Gender Violence Report, and that would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of Kavitha Muralidharan, Shalini Umachandran and Zubeda Hamid. Nandhini Parthib came on board to edit overnight. And Gynelle Alves drew the cover for us.

Kavitha also translated 'Call for Help' into Tamil for us.

Apurva, our youngest volunteer this year, kept newspaper clippings for us through the campaign.

Uma Vangal and Nandhini Shanmugham were pillars of strength, especially at the public events, with Nandhini quietly doing the things that needed doing--whether the paanai or mementos or registration or small last minute arrangements and Uma stepping up to the mike time and again to speak for Prajnya.

Nirupama Sarathy, last year's Campaign Coordinator, made the time between her travels to come in and volunteer during the campaign.

Nirupa Sundaravadanan juggled her medical practice and the needs of a small child to do the most unglamorous but essential task of the campaign--preparing, maintaing and putting into regular use, email lists. If you got an email from 'Prajnya Outreach,' it was because she sat down diligently and sent it out.

David found us at Chennai Twestival and volunteered to help us with campaign events. Checklist maestro, we really appreciated his resourcefulness, his cheerfulness and his willingness to step in and do what was needed--from stage decoration to mike checks to setting the projector and laptop.

Amrutha Rajagopalan designed all the lovely public event posters and invitations for this year's campaign. She also helped set up the Collaborative Cooking wiki and took photos at the concert. Nirupama Kapil and Tryphena Kirubakaran designed the Collaborative Cooking poster.

We had four student volunteers from the Asian College of Journalism work on the Bursting Media Bubbles post series in this blog. Thank you, and we hope you will continue to blog for us at

This year's 'Friends of Prajnya'--those partners and supporters--who really came through for us: Dr. Prasanna of PCVC, Vidya Reddy of Tulir, Shiamala Baby of FORWORD, Lister Metropolis, Babu Jayakumar of TNIE, Seetha Ravi of Kalki and the team at Queen Mary's College.

And finally, not because we value your support and presence least, but because it goes so much beyond the campaign: Dr. Thara, Koushik Udayashankar and Shyamala Rajagopalan.

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