A couple of days back I got an email from Eva – an effervescent youngster – graduating from her MBA degree from American University in Bulgaria. She said that she and her friends have been inspired by NEEV’s case study which came as a runner up in the Global OIKOS Case study competition , and that they would be presenting this study to their entire social entrepreneurship batch of the college.
Eva Alich and American University in Bulgaria
In Ancient India education of children was mainly done through stories like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Panchtantra or Jataka Tales because stories have the power to go beyond the mere rational and intellectual mind. They appeal to a deeper consciousness that lies untapped by the modern world. Now the Ramayana and Mahabharata have been replaced by other stories, stories we call science, development, progress and modernism. We gulp these stories down, right from childhood where they are preached from pulpits as if they are the word from God. These stories form the basis of how we define our selves, our lives and our world.
However, unlike the ancient stories, the stories created by modern man suffer from grave lacunae. They talk about matter, about body and mind, but remain mute about the soul and spirit. This has created a soulless world, a world from where the spirit, the vast, the immeasurable has been banished and where we become petty, ambitious, insecure humans trying to find their wholeness in material objects.
The greatest work of NEEV has been changing this story. When I went to Eva’s facebook profile page, I saw this banner
I was quite taken in by this. Very few of us want to change the world. I am not quite sure whether we all even agree whether there is anything in this world that needs to be changed. Or even if we do entertain such a notion in some of our saner moments we are unable to figure out where to begin. Several start off and then are extinguished by the gusts of the world.
So how do we change the world? Of course this is a very complex question; not something which I would like to make a topic of this article. But one big way to change the world is to change the stories that make this world. Of course one has to live them too.
Over the past one decade of NEEV’s existence I have seen how sharing our story has created so many different stories in different parts of the world.
“We humans live by stories”, says David Korten, one of my favourite writers who has written the book, Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth and the stories that now govern our society set us on a path to certain self-destruction. In this profound book, Korten shares the results of his search for a story that reflects the fullness of human knowledge and understanding and provides a guide to action adequate to the needs of our time.
Korten calls our current story Sacred Money and Markets. Money, it tells us, is the measure of all worth and the source of all happiness. Earth is simply a source of raw materials. Inequality and environmental destruction are unfortunate but unavoidable. Although many recognize that this story promotes bad ethics, bad science, and bad economics, it will remain our guiding story until replaced by one that aligns with our deepest understanding of the universe and our relationship to it.
To guide our path to a viable human future, Korten offers a Sacred Life and Living Earth story grounded in a cosmology that affirms we are living beings born of a living Earth itself born of a living universe. Our health and well-being depend on an economy that works in partnership with the processes by which Earth’s community of life maintains the conditions of its own existence – and ours. Offering a hopeful vision, Korten lays out the transformative impact adopting this story will have on every aspect of human life and society.
Of course all this is nothing but what our ancient scriptures have always said and which I am simply putting in a ‘modern’ language.
We sincerely hope that Eva becomes another recruit in a new generation of path leaders who would surge to script a new story for our ailing societies and earth.
I would also like to thank our amazing NEEV family of friends and supporters who have played such a vital role in helping NEEV create and disseminate new stories of human destiny. I am reproducing the email by Eva below in the hope that this story may inspire some more kindred souls to take the road less travelled. And thank you Eva for being what you are and for daring to do what you want to do.
Email from Eva
Dear Anurag and Shikha Jain,
Like sent to your NEEV Soaps Facebook page, my name is Eva, I am from Bulgaria and soon graduating from my MBA with the American University here.
For the first time this year the University is offering a Social Entrepreneurship course and as a part of it together with a group of enthused colleagues we are going to present the case of NEEVs social enterprise J
My colleagues are copied to this e-mail and their names are respectively – Ivan, Poli, Mariya and Bogdan.
This brought us to your incredible initiatives and we would like to express our humble admiration to what you have achieved!
We aspire to the same goals and dreams, and stories such as yours pose a great inspiration to us and I am sure to a great many people all over the world. So already thank you very much for that!
We thought that it would be magnificent to include you directly in our studies, to spread your inspiration among the entire group of students, to light that spark in them as well! There are so many issues here in Bulgaria that need such kind of an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep desire to help others and live a meaningful life! The case we are looking at is the one from the Oikos case writing competition in 2015. Our task is to prepare a presentation and answer the questions related to the case – so the challenges you were facing at that time concerning a potential on-line sales growth and international growth.
My group and I have been deliberating how can we make that presentation in the most engaging and inspiring way and we could think of no other way but asking you to address our Cohort directly and personally by means of maybe a short Youtube video.
If by any chance you would be interested in that I would gladly provide more details or we can even arrange a skype call between my group and you if that would be possible.
Thank you so much in advance for considering our idea!
With kindest regards from Bulgaria,
Eva, Ivan, Poli, Mariya and Bogdan