Dasra Philanthropy Week, 2023

DPW was my introduction not only to Dasra but also to the Tech4Dev team. Over the two weeks leading up to DPW I had met almost everyone over various video meetings. But these were to be my first face-to-face interactions. 

“Please pack a shirt”, my wife said to me. “And trousers”.

The venue was beautiful – a tall building with glass walls, shiny floors and so much space. The Dasra folk were professional and organized and made sure everything ran smoothly. When one of us (it was Arjun) walked on the art they came over and politely asked us not to. “It’s an art piece” said the man, “please don’t walk on it”. Well why does it look like a staircase then, we were smart enough not to say out loud.

For someone relatively new to the sector, what I was glad (and what I expected) to see, was that people were palpably passionate about what they were doing. Yes there are hurdles, and yes there is frustration but at the same time, in the development sector the chances of being able to impact our world and other people in it are just so much higher.

I met a gentleman from Kashmir who works with a centre for people with disabilities. The founder, he was telling me, is now 90 years old and semi-retired but he still shows up to work every day. This founder built the organization from the ground up, getting land, funding, staff, equipment… what a feeling it must be to be able to look back on your life and see such a thing. Oh, and on the side he also wrote an ENT textbook which is used in medical colleges.

With regard to our own Tech4Dev sessions there were no real surprises, I felt they were well attended and I found our guests engaged and attentive. Technology frightens and frustrates everyone (even outside of the development sector!) and I’ve always found audiences to be appreciative when they feel like you want to help them. I’m very glad to have found a team who are in a position to deliver this type of support, and to such a deserving target group.

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