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The opportunity I have been trying very hard to avoid.

Friday, September 10, 2010 by Marianne Elliott

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Every now and then an opportunity comes along that just seems too hard.

You know the kind of thing I’m talking about. The ‘opportunity’ that looks like trouble. The one that you don’t know how to tackle. The one that you suspect you might ‘fail’ at, and so are reluctant to even try?

The kind of opportunity that even a fearless warrior for good (well, fearless unless there is a big dog around) might want to hide from?

Well, there has been one of those opportunities following me around all year and somehow, over the past nine months my litany of fears, doubts and excuses have one-by-one been worn down.

And so, from today until mid-December 2010 I’m throwing all my energy and enthusiasm behind the Off the Mat, Into the World Global Seva Challenge for South Africa. My goal is to raise $20,000 by December 15th, which will go to a range of projects supporting people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. I’ve shared more detailed information about the projects and where the money will go, here.

Why HIV/AIDS? Why South Africa?

The HIV/AIDs epidemic is the leading cause of death in Africa. The number of premature deaths due to HIV/AIDS has risen over the last decade from 39% to 75% in 2010. This all happens in a society where the majority of children live in poverty and 23.2% of the economically active population is unemployed. (Statistics supplied by OTM)

Major natural disasters like the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan are putting huge pressure on the international development community. Between this and the ongoing cost of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, I fear there is a risk that the AIDS epidemic will be overlooked. The biggest risk of all, in my opinion, is that great local initiatives, initiatives that are already working, will lose the resources they need to keep going.

Why me? Why now?

Because I can’t get this one out of my head. As soon as Off the Mat announced that their Global Seva Challenge this year would be raising money for HIV/AIDS projects in South Africa my heart started nudging me to join in.

I resisted for a long time. $20,000 is a lot of money to raise. I already have a strong connection to Afghanistan, where there is also an ongoing desperate need for resources. I had a long list of reasons NOT to do this.

But it wouldn’t leave me alone.

I thought about it at night, and woke up thinking about it in the morning. So I finally just signed up. But because I dragged my feet all year, I now only have three months to raise $20,000. But I have seen the generosity of this community, and I believe we will raise it.

I have lots of ideas about how we can raise the money and the first of those ideas – a very special edition of the 30 days of yoga in October – will be launched very soon. But I can’t do this alone. I need your help.

Join my seva support team!

I need your help to make this happen. I need everyone who feels this opportunity nudging at them to join my team and make it happen.

So if you would like to be part of a small team of people who join me to raise this money, please email me (marianne at marianne-elliott dot com) and I’ll be in touch to arrange a time for the team to talk about how we can do this, together!

We’ll need people on the team who want to run their own fundraising events, people to help spread the word about the events other people (including me) are doing, and people to cheer us all on when we lose hope. Whatever your strength, I know there is a place for you on this team!

If being on the team is not for you, stay posted for more information about October’s very special 30 days of yoga (‘the Karma edition’) and other exciting plans I have for raising this money.


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7 Responses to "The opportunity I have been trying very hard to avoid."

  1. Alexis Grant says:

    This couldn’t have come at a better moment — I got an opportunity yesterday that sounds like trouble, one that intimidates me… But I’m going to do it! Getting this blog post in my RSS feed this morning made me feel like I made the right decision.

    Best of luck with your goal!

  2. Debbie says:

    Go Marianne! I’m still thinking about how I want to support your fundraising. Stay tuned 🙂

  3. Renee says:

    Good luck and well done, Marianne!

    Really, really looking forward to the October 30 Days of Yoga – Karma Edition.


  4. Helen says:

    This is brillant, what a goal to aim for! Can’t wait to get involved! 🙂

  5. Janine says:

    What a wonderful initiative, Marianne. I can’t wait to help you reach your goal.

  6. Emmanuelle says:

    Brilliant and beautiful goal Marianne!

    I haven’t commented until now because I’ve been twisting every brain cell to come up with an idea to help you. I think I found it, can’t guarantee it will work, but I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed. I’ll be in touch.

  7. Lorraine says:

    Wishing you every success in this incredible challenge – I will be cheering you on!
    Eagerly awaiting the October 30 days of yoga 🙂

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