Amongst the many supporters that we had in the early days, I would like to make special mention of three people. Like I wrote earlier, life was hard and sustaining our motivation amidst all the adversities was difficult. We were so far removed from mainstream society that no one really noticed us or our work. I was beginning to experience first-hand the difficulty of raising funds, especially when people had not heard about us. There were indeed many people willing to support us, but they needed the reassuring signal of our societal recognition. It was under such circumstances that 3 extraordinary people made such a big difference to us – all journalists, coincidentally from the same newspaper group.
The first article ever written about our work at Brahmagiri was by Mr.Krishna Vattam. He was not only a very caring and compassionate human being, but also a reputed journalist known for his integrity. He was the first one to showcase our tribal development activities to the world. We were then running the dispensary at Brahmagiri, with Mara (who is the local postman now) assisting us as ‘compounder’. I still remember the picture of Mara, Ramesh and myself in front of our dispensary.
Article by Krishna Vattam
On Justice Chandrashekar’s prodding, I had written a small piece about the plight of the tribals in and around Brahmagiri and this was published in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ section of Deccan Herald. A few days later, I got a letter from a senior journalist and editor there expressing a desire to meet me. This was Ms.Vatsala Vedantam, who specialized in writing about education and schools. She visited our fledgling school at Brahmagiri and wrote about us.
The next article to take us to the center stage across Karnataka was the one written by Mr.H.N.Ananda of the popular Kannada magazine ‘Sudha’. He came along with his wife to Brahmagiri unannounced and reached our place late at night. Two of our members, Mridula and Dechu, were also visiting and they hurriedly put together a dinner for the guests. They spent the whole of next day with us and put us on the cover page of the magazine and thus SVYM came to be known across the State.
Article in ‘Sudha’ dated 28-Oct-1990
Right from the initial days, the print and electronic media has remained our partner in the various development initiatives that we involved ourselves in. From reporting about our work to the coverage and steadfast support they gave us during the days of our legal battle on behalf of the tribals in the NHRC, they have always been with us. Many of these journalist friends have contributed in their own ways and have played a significant part in our growth and expansion.
Institutions grow only when support comes from different quarters of the society and SVYM is a classical example of this. Individual and Institutional donors, well wishers, people in the Government and media and most importantly, the communities that we work with – all of them have been with us in our mission of bringing about social change. SVYM cannot be an organization that a few of us run. It is more a platform through which hundreds of well meaning individuals express their need for social change and national development. This is our uniqueness and each one of us needs to see ourselves as custodians of this exemplary philosophy.