One of the biggest worries that a founder has for their organization is –> what is the culture in their organization? Is it driven by the right values? Will the organization sustain itself without the founder? Is it built only on the will of a couple of people or will it stand the test of time?
I have always hoped that all of us at Enable India work only for one purpose : FOR THE CLIENTS WHO ARE DISABLED. Everything and anything done by all of us has to be with that goal in mind. So for example, if I make a mistake, I expect to be given feedback for the benefit of our clients. If there is something which may be detrimental for our clients, it has to be pointed out and corrected. So I have consciously tried to create the culture by walking that talk. i.e you do as you say.. And from all indications, I was satisfied that we were on the right track. Recently, something helped reinforce this point.
A few months back we held our teachers training program for computer instructors for the blind. In this 21 day program, we build the capacity of computer trainers to teach computers to the blind. Since this is a very specialized field, we train them on the special teaching techniques, resource aids, build their attitude towards visually impaired and build their own overall skills. This was the fourth batch and was the first time that we got sponsorship thanks to IBM.
We conduct a rigorous evaluation to ensure that the right teachers come to the course. We only want those people who will be able to learn and benefit from the course to come. The wrong set of teachers will lead to wastage of other people’s time. It so happened that on DAY 1 of the training, we got around 18 teachers from around India but two teachers did not fit the requirements. We were really surprised because if they passed our evaluation they should be upto the mark. Later in the day , Vidya (who was conducting the program) along with me was trying to understand if there were some flaws in the evaluation or issues with correction of the evaluation etc.
That night, I received a phone call from Sivakumar (who is now our main computer trainer for the blind. He is a low vision person and is a product of the same computer course from the 2004 batch ). The call came at almost 10:30 pm and I was surprised. He had just returned from work and had his dinner (I think). He asks me “Ma’am, I heard that there are two teachers who are not upto the mark in the TTC (teachers training course). How did this happen? DID WE LOWER OUR STANDARD BECAUSE WE GOT FUNDING? I hope that is not the case!”
I was absolutely overjoyed. I was being questioned on whether we were doing the right thing for our clients? I replied that his fears were misplaced and we ourselves were trying to understand what had gone wrong. We then went on discuss the next steps and further actions we needed to do to ensure the course was on track as per our own high standards of quality! At 11:30 pm, we finished the call. I was exhausted but slept soundly knowing that “ALL IS WELL AT ENABLE INDIA”
——- Shanti Raghavan, Founder and Managing Trustee, Enable India