To Be Rather Than To Seem

by | Jul 15, 2022 | ShiftHappens

My home state of North Carolina’s motto is “esse quam videri,” which translates from the Latin as “to be rather than to seem.” 

This was on my mind recently in a team conversation about how The Pollination Project, as a global community of changemakers, should respond to emerging events in the news cycle that seem to occur with alarming frequency. When affronts to peace and justice occur, what is our reaction or responsibility? 

In the past, we’ve done what many organizations and companies do – we put out a statement condemning or affirming whatever aspect feels aligned. These kinds of statements pervade social media in the wake of a news event, yet I can’t help but wonder what good they do or who they serve. In the worst cases, they feel performative and self-interested. In the best cases, they encourage a binary echo chamber that amplifies already entrenched ways of thinking. Particularly in the case of complex and nuanced issues, I am convinced that real change rarely happens without vulnerable interpersonal dialogue with someone we know in life. 

There is an element of self-centrality to this business of statement-making, too. Yet for The Pollination Project, our core staff team is the least important constituency in our community. Our voice and vision belong to our global grantee community, who hail from nearly 120 countries; it is reasonable to assume that there is a plurality of viewpoints and cultural experiences within this rich tapestry, and that not all of them see the world through the lens of Western media and culture. 

As the conversation about this issue unfolded within our team, a consensus emerged: when the news cycle beckons, we will dispense with the idea of statement-making or other performative strategies. We will instead uplift the stories and projects of grantees working in topical capacities. This does not mean we do not care deeply about the issues of the day; just that we, as a team, want to cede the spotlight in these moments and instead highlight the practical dreamers who are solutionaries. That is, those who are focused on “being” rather than “seeming.” 

I know there are some within our community that might not agree with this approach. To them, I extend a heartfelt offer to talk about it more together. 

After all, there is tremendous beauty in conversation across differences. 

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🌟 Empowering Through Play! 🌟

Nature Trust (Tamilnadu, India) launched the project, "Enhance the Skills of Children with Disabilities through Play," supported by one of our seed grants 🎉✨ Timed with World Autism Awareness Day 2024, this initiative resonates with the theme of "Empowering the Autistic Voices."

In particular, the grant allowed Nature Trust to provide specially curated play materials to 20 remarkable children with diverse disabilities. These tools were thoughtfully selected to ignite their development and unlock their potential. 🧩🎨

At the distribution event held on March 31st, the atmosphere was filled with joy as children and parents expressed gratitude for the newfound importance of play in their lives. 💖👦👧 The presence of local leaders underscored the significance of inclusive initiatives like this one.

Beyond distribution, Nature Trust volunteers engaged with the children, creating lasting connections and memories. 🤝 

Through the power of play, Nature Trust is fostering a more inclusive world where every child has the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential. 🌈 

Let's continue spreading joy and empowerment through play! 

#EmpowerThroughPlay #InclusiveCommunities 🌟 
#childrenwithdisabilities #autism #supportchildren #kindness #heartivism #India
It's Volunteer Month! 🌟 🌟 🌟 Today we celebrate our grant advisors working on Economic Development focus area.

By meticulously selecting projects for our seed grants, they're not just funding ideas—they're empowering communities and sparking transformative change. 

Join us in celebrating their invaluable efforts and the positive impact they're creating together!

🔸 Eric Anorrey (Ghana)
🔸 Mariam Nakiryowa (Uganda)
🔸 Jean-Marie Zihalirwa (DRC)
🔸 Emily Logiron Asekon (Kenya)
🔸 Georgia Bernbaum (USA) 
🔸 Herve Tsoala Kuete (Cameroon)
🔸 Jackson Bizimungu (Rwanda)
🔸 Okumu Dickson (Uganda)
🔸 Samuel Litunya (Kenya)

@ericanorrey 
@mayanja_mariam 
@g.bernbaum 

#volunteermonth #volunteer #heartivism #economicdevelopment #change #empoweringcommunities
The Green Earth Initiative (#Cameroon) is a project dedicated to educating and empowering students about climate change, sustainable development, and environmental challenges, that has received a seed grant from The Pollination Project in 2023. With a focus on fostering environmental protection and conservation, the initiative establishes Eco-clubs and Environment Clubs in schools, providing students with the tools to learn, engage, and take action in their communities.

Since receiving the grant from TPP, the Green Earth Initiative has expanded its reach, now encompassing 9 additional schools across two regions/cities, surpassing its initial goal of 5. 
This expansion was made possible by the overwhelming interest from school authorities and the growing number of volunteers and team members.

Through the support of TPP and other partners, the project's environmental education programs, awareness campaigns, and initiatives have impacted over 8000 students in two cities of Cameroon. Additionally, the initiative has planted over 600 trees, launched 5 Environment/Eco Clubs, and distributed over 150 adapted waste bins produced from recycled plastics, contributing to proper waste management practices.

The seed grant from The Pollination Project has been instrumental in catalyzing the growth and success of the Green Earth Initiative, enabling it to make a tangible difference in the lives of students and communities, while fostering a culture of environmental stewardship and sustainability. 

@isec_cameroon 
#environmentprotection #seedgrant #heartivism #environmentaleducation