Using challenges to inspire people to contribute to causes has gained momentum in recent years, with movements like the Ice Bucket Challenge and Rice Bucket Challenge capturing the imagination of people. As 2016 draws to a close, there’s a fresh challenge on the cards – the 21-day challenge.
Swim for MS is an ongoing fundraising effort that helps the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) provide support and services to people living with Multiple Sclerosis, and their caretakers. Participants set a swimming-related challenge, and get friends and family to donate to MSAA to help them reach their goal. Challenges can be either an ongoing commitment to swim a certain time or distance, or a pledge to participate in a single event, such as a pool party or water volleyball tournament. The key is to participate and raise money to help those with Multiple Sclerosis and their loved ones with vital services and support.
‘The 21-day challenge’ is Bangalore-based The/Nudge Foundation’s way of inspiring people to live out their dreams and resolutions while raising funds to nudge the underprivileged youth out of poverty.
Participants of the first 21-day challenge included Sujit Mathew, who lived on less than Rs. 100 per day for 21 days, raising Rs. 1,65,000, and Jayesh Easwaramony, who wrote about the 100 most powerful scenes in Indian cinema over 100 days, raising Rs. 94,000.
Sujit Mathew talks about his Ketto campaign, Pay it Forward, “My close friends always ask me, why am I so passionate and drawn to the cause of education? Why do I pursue this Utopian concept, that everyone deserves a fair shot at life? Here’s the answer – if there is one thing in life which I know to be true, it’s that I wouldn’t even exist in this form and have the life I have, if someone, somewhere, sometime had not opened the gates of education to my ancestors, ushering in a new era for future generations in our family. This is a story which most of us share.”
Jayesh, who started 100 Days: 100 Scenes Writers Nudge for the Nudge Foundation, explains his motivation as, “In India, movies provide hope, shape dreams, and give moments of societal reflection. As a lover of movies, I wanted to capture certain moments from various movies that I liked. So for a period of 100 days, I ‘nudged’ myself to write. I wrote about the 100 most memorable/powerful scenes in Indian cinema.”
It wasn’t an easy journey for either of the two, but their causes drove them to keep pushing to complete their respective challenges. “Living on less than Rs. 100 every day was a challenge. But I thought of those millions who have to do this by compulsion, and I kept my pledge,” says Sujit. For Jayesh, maintaining commitment was difficult, “Writing something fresh everyday, and researching to find the right scene, was tough. I tried to write whenever I found time, and kept researching during spare moments.”
However, both young men agree that successfully completing their respective challenges was a life-changing experience. Sujit says, “It was a tremendous learning experiencing, understanding how the other half of India lives.” Jayesh believes the campaign changed him for the better, “It was an incredible experience, raising funds for The/Nudge through this unique project, where something you love doing [writing] transforms into a societal Nudge.”
As the year ends, The/Nudge Foundation is organizing another 21-day challenge. The challenge will help people live out their New Year resolutions while raising funds for poverty alleviation. Saurabh Adeeb, Head, Partner Engagement and Fundraising, says, “We believe doing anything for 21 days helps make it a habit. We want to help people build habits in areas they love, while pledging to the urgent cause of poverty alleviation. This is a great way for people to join the fight against poverty.”