Our tribe: Vol. 1
As part of our birthday campaign, we called up a few of the people who have gone above and beyond to make Priyam Global into the organization it is today. From the beginning, the donations and support of our VIPs have helped us solve an urgent problem: children affected by disability in India are living in extreme poverty and very few people know about it. Our VIP investors are changing that.
Today we are featuring three investors: Chris, Matt, and Sarah. We gave each of them the same little personality quiz: their favorite food, favorite places to travel, book they're currently reading, advice they'd give to anyone younger than them, why they think Priyam's work matters, and whether they'd rather visit space, Antarctica, or the depths of the sea.
Here's what they said.
CHRIS ETOW | Laguna Beach, California
Name Chris Etow
Occupation Retired registered nurse
Location Laguna Beach, CA
Favorite food What I really like is any type of [authentic] Italian food. They grow their vegetables and have such simple foods that they prepare in the most beautiful way.
Favorite place you've traveled Probably the one that I always go back to is Peru. We loved Cusco and Machu Picchu. We did a project in elementary school and all those years I’ve thought I want to go Machu Picchu! So I got my dream. And the people in Peru are such hard workers, they’re so happy, they’re so kind, they’re family.
Book you’re currently reading Right now, I am… I usually read two or three. One of them is called a Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearne Goodwin
What advice would you give to people who are younger than you?
Kindness. Gratitude. Just being open-minded. Open eyes: see the world! So often people tend to go through actions or activities every day with their eyes closed, and then they get caught up with trying to keep up. They lose sight of being able to appreciate, of being appreciative. You have to have awareness.
What is something you like about Priyam? It kind of goes back to what I was saying: eyes open. Priyam is getting those of us that have material things an opportunity to give to those that don’t have access to medication, education, social support. And you’re validating that they are very important: the caregivers, the children… You're saying: You count. You are very important.
Why do you think Priyam’s work matters? Just because of the changes, in such a positive way. I see so much potential in Priyam because it’s making a positive impact. It brings such a positive spin to a world where we are surrounded by negativity because of the media. All you hear about are these terrible things happening abroad. And then you see the rainbow: and it's that Priyam and other nonprofits are helping people.
Would you rather go to space, visit Antarctica, or go deep sea diving? (and why?) I definitely do not want to go to space, because it just seems so still out there, according to movies and newsreels I’ve seen. It’s just so vast and it seems empty and devoid of that life pulse: greenery and animals. And deep sea diving — the deeper you go, the darker it is. Antarctica sounds great just because you would see a lot of animals.
MATT DELEON | Atlanta, Georgia
Name Matt DeLeon
Occupation Computer Programmer
Location Atlanta, Georgia
Favorite food Mexican cuisine - fresh tortillas
Favorite place you've traveled Thailand, I lived there for a year so it has a pretty deep place in my heart. I know the customs, a bit of the language. It feels like a second home.
Book you’re currently reading It’s called Refactoring and it’s a computer programming book
What advice would you give to people who are younger than you? I would suggest that if they have a chance in college or even after college to travel abroad and live somewhere for at least several months, do it. You just have no idea what you’ll learn and how you’ll change when you go abroad. You just know you’re guaranteed to change. Get out of your comfort zone. I remember when I was in New Zealand, I came back and that’s where I had learned to cook. Because I went to Thailand, that’s how I got into learning languages and now I’m learning Spanish. They don’t seem related at all but you never know what you will do.
What is something you like about Priyam?
I think what stood out to me is that Priyam educated me on something that I had no idea was such an issue. I knew that poverty in India was issue…most people know that just from reading the news. But I think it’s so creative that you were able to dig deeper and find a slice of it that’s even worse than the rest: what children with disabilities experience. So I like that you were able to find a specific slice of poverty and you are also dealing with the social stigmas. You’re focusing on an issue that no one else is.
Would you rather go to space, visit Antarctica, or go deep sea diving? (and why?) I’m definitely going with space. I don’t think that’s too hard for me. Space is way more exotic than Antarctica or the sea.
SARAH SHAW | Rolling Meadows, Illinois
Name Sarah Shaw
Occupation Event Coordinator
Location Rolling Meadows, IL
Favorite food Frozen yogurt – anything chocolate
Favorite place you've traveled Austin, Texas – I loved the culture. The motto is Keep Austin Weird and as silly as it sounds to say it’s weird, it is. There is a lot of public art and food trucks, and it has a small town vibe in a bigger city.
Book you’re currently reading Essentialism by Greg McKeown
What advice would you give to people who are younger than you? Don't underestimate yourself. So often we think we can’t accomplish things because we aren’t old enough or we haven’t gone to school for that subject or we haven’t done it before—and we limit ourselves by that. As long as you have an idea, and access to Google, limits don’t have to exist as they always have in the past.
What is something you like about Priyam? How Priyam works with and empowers people who are already delivering a service. I like that your model is more sustainable because you have people in India who are part of not only the culture of India but the culture of disability work. I think that’s what makes nonprofit work more sustainable.
In your own words, why do you think Priyam’s work matters?
Priyam’s work matters because the model is sustainable. I think that’s going to create lasting change and by partnering with people in that culture who live and work where Priyam's work is happening, there’s the potential for the impact to be much greater. And the way you can deliver the services can be more efficient because you have people involved who understand how things work and what the challenges are. Which is something we can’t always understand, being on the outside of that.
Would you rather go to space, visit Antarctica, or go deep sea diving? (and why?) Probably Antarctica, because it’s disappearing! I want to see it before it disappears or melts and the same animals can’t live there anymore.
Thank you so much to everyone who has invested in us since Priyam began in 2014.