An outline of my talk to 2nd Grade Students of Indus International School, Pune as a guest speaker for their unit of enquiry about ‘organizations and being organized’.
“Everyone dreams: kids, grown-ups, and even some animals like dogs dream at night. But what about “waking dreams” -- our ideas and goals -- how do we turn these dreams into reality? We stay focused, determined, and above all -- organised!”
Neha Panchamiya with Grade 2 students and teachers of Indus International School, Pune in 2019.
“12 years ago, I found a puppy who was extremely sick. He desperately needed medical help but there was no one nearby who was able or willing to help it. I was so frustrated and sad that no one would help that little puppy… but then I stopped and thought, why am I pointing fingers at other people? If I want to help animals, I should take the initiative and do it myself! And that’s how the idea for RESQ Charitable Trust was born.
Ideas start small, but given the right approach, they grow and grow, and soon enough, they become unstoppable. 12 years ago, I started an NGO called RESQ. I was driven by my imagination and determination to help animals just like that little puppy, but I also knew that it was important to stay organised in order to make my “waking dream” a reality. Of course, it was intimidating at first to take on such a big task -- but because I set myself small goals and had a reliable group of friends to lean on, I was able to find success and also make a difference for animals.
RESQ began as a small onsite rescue service, which means that we would provide treatment to injured and sick stray animals on the street itself. We started out as a team of 2 people with 1 car, 1 telephone, and basic First-Aid knowledge. People from all over the city would call and report injured animals to us on the phone, and we would do whatever we could to help. We were a very small operation back then and we didn’t even have any space to admit animals for treatment… but thanks to planning ahead, we were able to help 256 animals in that whole year!
As some of you may already know, with great power comes great responsibility. As we continued to help animals and slowly grew as an organisation, the responsibility grew too, and we encountered many obstacles along the way. As more and more people heard about us and the number of cases being reported to us steadily grew, we knew we would need more resources to be able to cope with it all. SO many animals needed our help every day, and because our phone was always busy, some people weren’t even able to report cases to us. I knew that in order to move forward, I needed to approach problems in an organised manner and find the right solution for them. And so, I began to look for new ways to raise funds and get the resources we needed. I knew that mistakes would probably be made along the way but I was reassured with the knowledge that I would have a clear plan going ahead. I realised that the internet would be a wonderful way to reach both people and animals, and so, RESQ decided to move from a helpline to a webline system. This meant that instead of only 50 people being able to report cases to us in a single day, now, over 100 people could reach out to us for help thanks to an easy-to-report system on the internet! After careful planning, we implemented this webline solution, and thanks to this we were able to hear about and respond to animals in need even when they were as far away as Lonavala. But with this solution came our next hurdle… with so many cases being reported to us, I realised that we didn’t have enough people in our team or funds to be able to rescue and treat so many animals. And so, we started posting about our work on social media and asking people for help online. Through this, we were able to reach kind people who donated to RESQ, volunteers who dedicated time and hard work to us, and also interact with an amazing community and people who, just like us, were similarly driven by a love for animals. In time, our team began to grow from 2 people to 4, 4 to 8, and so on! Thanks to support from donors, we went from 1 car to 2 fully-equipped Small Animal Ambulances AND a dedicated Large Animal Ambulance. We went from 1 vet to 3, to 5, and now 6! We also developed an app that would help us track cases and send our Ambulances to rescue injured and sick animals all over our city. And because everyone in our team also understands the importance of staying organised by communicating properly with each other and making sure that our goals are set firmly in view, today, we have gone from helping 256 animals in a single year to now being able to admit 256 animals at a time at the RESQ Centre whilst still continuing to help more animals on the streets and in our OPD.
Being organised is a superpower in its own right. It can help you control time: by planning ahead, you can save hours of time! It can help you approach things with a cool and calm mind like Professor X from the X-Men. It can help you finish your work super-fast, just like The Flash! And most importantly? It can help you build things out of nothing and make your dreams a reality, just like I did.”