At today’s National Awakening Council Rick Brooks of Sarvodaya USA spoke to those assembled. His message may be somewhat informative to those supporting Sarvodaya abroad, especially his emphasis on a personal connection for donors abroad. Mr. Brooks said that the experience of Sarvodaya USA was of waves of compassion, not solicitation of donations. He said that people reached out to support Sarvodaya based on its word-of-mouth reputation as effective and accountable. At the same time, he spoke of a deeper need of donors to feel connected to Sri Lanka beyond mere dollar contributions – the same connection Mr. Brooks felt when he participated in Shramadana shared labor camps.
The pressing need, he said, is a concrete, personal connection to names and faces. Mentioning a personal story, Mr. Brooks said he visited one family for only four days. Later, upon his return to America, Mr. Brooks received a letter from the children, signed ‘Your Daughters’. From there, he said, they had him for life. In his visit here will record the names of villages, villagers, and try to connect the people in the USA to Sarvodaya as it exists – on the village level.