Wednesday, February 12, 2014

This Valentines your India


Valentines Day is less than two days away! On that special day, I’m sure you are planning to show your significant other that you love them, care for them, and respect them.

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I’d like to ask that you take a moment to show a little bit of love…to India, by supporting 5th Pillar.

Since 2007, 5th Pillar has been fighting to end corruption in India.  As you know, corruption is a dangerous, overpowering, and pervasive disease that has a stranglehold on all of India.  Only a major revolution can heal the people from their defeatist mentality and empower them to take a stand to kill corruption…for ever.

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Due to the committed, dedicated, and passionate staff/volunteers of 5th Pillar, we have managed to raise awareness among 3 million Indians about the Zero Rupee Note, trained 10,000 Indians on how to use the RTI act, and educated 500,000 future leaders of India on how to live an honest and corruption free life.

What you may not know is that we do not charge any fees for our servicesnot one paisa.  Millions of Indians cannot afford even the smallest amount and have suffered enough at the hands of corrupt officials so it is our primary objective to ensure that all citizens have access to our services without any barriers, hindrances, or obstacles.

Additionally, we have turned no one away who has had a legitimate cause.  Every individual who has approached us, asked us for assistance, and has a legitimate cause, has been helped.  Many non-profits have to turn people away due to lack of resources.  We at 5th Pillar have not…and don’t plan to.  Ever!

Examples of those whom we’ve helped:

After 1.5 years of humiliation and denial by government offices, a 70 year old illiterate grandmother was able to get an education loan for her granddaughter within 30 minutes of handing over a Zero Rupee Note.  She called our office and in tears said that all her life she was treated like a dog in every government office…but that day…for the first time in her life…she was treated like a queen.

A 5th Pillar member filed an RTI petition to get his ration card and used our Chennai office as the mailing address.  In 20 days we got a call to our office asking for his home address so the ration card could be delivered to the member’s home!  Have you ever heard of a Ration card office hand delivering a ration card to a citizen’s home?

These are only two (2) stories I have shared with you.  We have thousands more success stories.  And we want millions more to be told.

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So, how can you show India your love? 

Because we charge no fees and because we turn no one away, we depend on our supporters to pay for our expenses. 

At this critical time we face many challenges.  Our funding is running low, our ambitions are running high, and our staff/volunteers are struggling on where to focus our time.

On the one hand we have been asked to and want to expand operations into other Indian states, to provide a satellite RTI program for overseas Indians, and to provide online training on the RTI act and other ways to fight corruption.

On the other hand, there is only so much we can do in addition to our daily activities with resources that are drying up fast.

At this critical juncture I ask that each of you take a moment to think about what a corruption free India means to you.  To think about your dreams, your vision, your hopes, and your aspirations for your motherland.  Think about the times you have wondered why your home country cannot be as successful as your adopted country.

We all know India has the potential to be a great nation and an even greater power.  It has been one in the past.  India has a rich history, a long tradition of greatness and it can reach those heights and climb even higher…if we put an end to corruption.

I ask that each of you become a member of 5th Pillar (membership application).  To make it easier, we have, as a Valentines Day special, dropped the requirements from $50 to $20 a year (membership application), with the hopes that this initial investment will be small enough to expand our fundraising base ever larger that can then step forward to help expand our reach wider into other Indian communities in the US and in other states in India (To become a member in India: call +91 (44) 6527-3056 (Indian membership application)).

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We also have a premium membership for $50 (membership application) which will entitle you to discounts at 5th Pillar events and a 5th Pillar T-Shirt which you can wear proudly knowing you are part of an organization that has a 100% success rate, has a clean track record, and is run by dedicated staff/volunteers.

If you would prefer to help in other ways, we welcome any and all initiatives…but our primary need at this critical time is financial.  Please do find a way to show your love to India by making a $20 donation, a $50 donation, or any amount you feel you can share (membership application), (To become a member in India: call +91 (44) 6527-3056 (Indian membership application)).

What happens now will determine the future of 5th Pillar and the future of our anti-corruption programs.  We want to reach out to all of India, to empower every citizen to stand up to and beat corruption, and to finally create the India we all long for.  And we will do it…with your love.