We have been asked a common question by some of the readers of these blogposts: "Is it you or Purbasha doing this relief work?" Some of the queries are from contributors to PAKT effort. When we tried to look for the reasons behind this common query, we found that most of the people in our video interviews referred to 'Purbasha' the eco-tourism group as the organisation that distributes relief to them. They do not seem to be well aware of PAKT's contribution to the relief they get, perhaps because they 'see' only Purbasha at the distribution point. Even the pictures we share show banners of Purbasha.
Till date we (PAKT) have not put up any banner during our activities at Chargheri. Purbasha is a local eco-tourism group that was already known to the locals before Aila happened. Now in this post-Aila phase, Purbasha are not only playing a 'visible' role in the final step of distributing the relief after our boat reaches Chargheri, they also put up their banner at each of the distributions. As a result the general impression that comes out to commoners is that 'a group of people from Kolkata' are coming regularly and Purbasha is doing this with their support. The name PAKT is not known to many people.
Why have PAKT not put up their own banner? The answer is simple. We never had any intention to put up photos of our banner and let people see those. Trying to publicise the PAKT name is something that we never intended to do. We are not 'regular's or NGO's. PAKT was formed only to carry out this effort. Yes, we do try to publicise this relief & rehabilitation work going on at Chargheri through the net and email communications. But it is done solely to bring in more help for the people we are supporting. Publicising the name under which this work is being done is the last thing on our minds.
The principal reason for sharing the pictures and videos was to update our contributors about our activities. We owe it to them that they learn in detail where there money is going. Another purpose of bringing the videos & snaps up on the net is to demonstrate the need to support people in the area we have chosen. The PAKT group at Kolkata felt that presence or absence of PAKT's banner did not have much to add or take away from the purpose of PAKT.
PAKT had no objections to Purbasha putting up their banner and publicising their participation in this welfare activity. They were our local facilitators and were also contributing to the effort. They too are providing the support to their village folk as a welfare job. Besides mobilising their own people at Chargheri to handle huge foodstocks on every visit, Purbasha's contribution also includes meeting us at Kolkata in between visits to chalk out way ahead, distribution of cards, passing important information to locals and such other supporting work. If they wanted to put a banner up for that participation, we did not see much harm in that.
However the 'invisibility' of PAKT at distribution activities, essentially our unwillingness to announce ourselves, has resulted in a lack of awareness of people about the name 'PAKT'. PAKT's contribution is well known amongst people though. We can assure you that the people there know each one of us in PAKT very well. It is just that they are not particularly aware that our collective name is PAKT. They visualise us as "the Kolkata guys that bring in the stuff for Purbasha". We really did not care about it as long as the job is getting done.
Now we know that this invisibility of PAKT is a reason of concern and query for our contributors and supporters. We will take full heed of that concern. We will strive to make more people aware of the critical role of PAKT in the activities being taken up. This will start right away from the coming visit to Chargheri on 5th September. Purbasha have also offered to spread the word on the leading role played by PAKT in the welfare activities that are reaching them.
A banner is expected to help spread the name of PAKT amongst the people we are supporting. Hence we shall have a banner pretty soon!
Update: Here's the banner. It was displayed in the distribution venue durng seventh visit. This snap is clicked there. The role of PAKT was also announced to the people who collect assistance from us.