In our first blog post about the Dela Summit, we wrote about how we hoped that being a part of the gathering would inspire us and how we were hoping to receive guidance on how our dreams can go from idea to action, essentially how to become Changemakers.
Listening to the stories from the Social Entrepreneurs, we did get inspired! Hearing about the challenges they have had to overcome, their work ethic and how their dreams and visions always kept them going through thick and thin. They didn’t listen when people said they were crazy, when people said they were doing the impossible, and look at how many people’s lives they have changed today.
We also received guidance, we understand that it takes a lot of work, requires teamwork and perhaps most importantly, knowledge, to make any organization work. Another important part is to have passion, yet don’t be afraid to widen your perspectives and never be afraid to ask for assistance. The upside with social entrepreneurship is that people share your vision and want to be part of the change. We also noticed that, when it comes to developing strategies and structure, the Social Entrepreneurs had incorporated a lot of input from the corporate world.
The most exciting thing was to meet all the Social Entrepreneurs. It was inspiring to hear each and every one of their stories and hear more about their work and what inspires them. We have seen a lot of examples of that dreams can become a reality. For example, John John from Grassroot Tea Corporation works with small tea farmers in India. John’s vision is that small farmers increase their impact by enabling them to work together. The tea farmers do not know how to set their prices and John’s organization helps them with that, so that they can share the extra profit. From 1990 to 2017 there’s been a big change in the tea industry in India. Before, the tea was completely produced by bigger estates and today 50 % is produced by small farms. John’s story is an example of how a Changemaker can make a difference in infinite ways. That the idea or vision, doesn’t need to be big or complicated to turn into something great.
We weren’t surprised about how much hard work goes into all the Social Entrepreneur’s organizations. And it was wonderful to see how much passion and engagement exists in the world. Suraiya Haque’s organization, Phulki, provides childcare for low-income women in Bangladesh, which is a great example of the above. Around 27 years ago, Suraiya and her husband hired a woman to assist around the house. The woman told Suraiya that she did not have any place to leave her child when she went to work. Suraiya realized she must do something about this. She was called crazy by many people, but today Phulki provides childcare to a great many in Bangladesh. It’s fascinating how you can make a change that impacts a million people, just because you felt that you or other people weren’t treated right.
It was also exciting to see how a Summit works, to get an understanding of all the hard work behind the scenes. We learned a lot by talking to Ashoka staff and asking why the planning was done the way it was, and what reasoning that lay behind it. Everything had a purpose, and it was all planned for getting as much as possible out of the gathering.
The most challenging thing for us was to take in all the new information, and at the same time process it in a way that’s easy to write and share with you. There were so many great stories, new perspectives, and many different feelings that stirred in us during these days. It made it hard to know where to start when sharing our experience with you. We can only hope that you felt part of our journey.
We know we’ll be able to use this experience in the future. Most of all we feel very fulfilled and empowered and want to learn even more. There are more lessons to be learned from each of the organization’s and people that attended the Dela Summit. It was amazing to see how it works when people come together to collaborate for a better world.
Now, it’s up to us, as we continue our own Changemaking journey. We hope to see you again!
Linnéa and Kim
PS. For more info, visit dela.ashoka.org.