….but we did not know we would be fighting off extortionists and opportunists…
but before anything else… Happy new year, we have been off the radar but been super busy since November, we have had ups, ups and a couple of downs, but mostly ups. and we are kicking of 2013 in super spirits! Ooorah!
From a distance I observe, advise, curse with, pick up, assist, admire and witness the numerous hurdles that team PTP faces and overcomes day in day out, and most of them they take on the chin, adapt, over come and carry on with a lot of help and assistance from our limited number of individual donors.
There are hurdles that team PTP has faced and overcome that I can’t mention without attracting the wrath of the powers that be, but there is one episode that I would like to share with everyone; just so you’all have an appreciation for the kind of issues we face and deal with. His name is Sher Bahadur but at PTP we call him Brutus for reasons you shall soon read about.
Back in November 2012 we had a run in with Brutus.
We mobilised and got another cohort of 30 street cobblers convinced to attend the business growth program to be held in Rawalpindi, all was well, the venue and catering arranged the cobblers confirmed but on the day from amongst the delegates one of them got in touch with us hours from kick off.
Sher Bahadur (a.k.a Brutus) identified himself as the spokesperson for the entire cohort and laid down terms for us to accept if any of the delegates were to show up later that evening, the terms were the venue be changed to a more expensive hotel (he had a name for us too), dinner be upgraded and the stipend be doubled and paid to him to distribute to the delegates.
We do not take kindly to be extorted, we engaged Brutus in a discussion and queried his rationale; Brutus said PTP is funded by external donors and must be awash with cash and it was his right to demand what he was demanding.
The team explained that PTP’s work is funded by a handful of donors and we work with very tight budgets and most importantly Brutus was betraying his cobbler community with his demands. Whilst one of PTP’s team engaged Brutus in discussion another started calling up the cohort delegates only to be told by some that Sher Bahadur (a.k.a Brutus was their voice) and by others that Sher Bahadur had told them what PTP really was and they would not attend without Sher Bahadur’s presence at the event.
Team PTP told Sher Bahadur to go where we seldom tell people to go! yes we did loose the deposits we had paid for the venue and catering but we did not give in to extortion.
The lost cohort of November taught us a few things, the most important being to keep the cohort sizes small until there is significant awareness of our work in the cobbler community, stay off the radar and keep trudging on.
We took our lessons from November and put them to test in December, which was an incredibly successful month for PTP, in December 2012 we engaged three cohorts; the details for that will follow in the next post. We had to close this post on a positive note, no matter what we will stick to our message and keep moving towards our objectives.
OooraH to what will be an awesome year for micro-entrpreneurs!