My name is Danilo D’Angelo, I’m an Italian architect who has given up a successful career and a six figure salary to follow his dream.
When I married my wife Cristina, we were both disappointed by the alarmingly deterioration of moral and ethic values of our own society, so we decided to live at the edge of it, and bought a house in the woods, up the hills of beautiful Savona in Liguria.
Fond of the Indian culture and its rich heritage, I traveled solo from 1987 to 1992 all over Rajastan, Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Ladak, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Since 1993 Cristina joins me on my travels.
During the long and cold winter months, we travel all around Asia and especially in India, where over the years I have witnessed a number of major changes occurring and I should say not all of them positive.
India is currently experiencing extremely rapid economic growth; however the vast majority of the Indian population will not share in the benefits of the economic windfall that is underway.
More than 70% of the population of India inhabits small villages; many do not have access to clean water or adequate food. More than 30% survive on less than 2 $ per day and 20% of the children have no access to education.
The huge gap between the urban rich and rural poor, the indifference of the privileged towards exploitation of the less fortunate that I had witnessed during my many trips, inspired me to want to set up an organization to help the people of impoverished villages become aware of their true potential,
especially the ones of the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, where Cristina and I spent most of our time.
With help and guidance, these villagers have the intelligence and ability to bring themselves out of poverty, on a truly sustainable basis on into the future.
When I returned home after one of my recent trips to India, I spent numerous sleepless nights trying to answer many pressing questions: What to do? Where to start from? How can I be the change I wish to see? As an architect, how do I apply my skills to the benefit of the villagers?
How to help these people acquire the ability to distinguish which of their traditions and values can be called upon for their personal, social and economic development?
I knew I wanted to help, I knew I wanted to do something for these people and I knew I wanted to do some good for a nation that has been generous to me and has taught me much. But how?
The more I thought and talked about it, the more my vision became clear; slowly but surely I begun to see the what, and the how.
The concept of Hold.it, a non-profit organization was borne.
Hold.it is a group of like-minded men and women dedicated to be actively engaged in helping rural villagers set up and run a productive, self-sufficient community with regards to Indian wisdom and rich traditions.
Hold.it will offer a variety of programs with focus on education for unprivileged children, and vocational training centers where participating students learn multiple skills of craftsmanship, such as embroidery, cotton and fibers weaving, basketry, wood and stone carving, musical instruments manufacturing and many more income generating activities. Products are to be sold to local markets, to sustain the villagers’ livelihood and to purchase new material.
Our main focus is not to provide villagers with money; rather to provide them with the tools and skills to earn a living.
Hold.it commits to find a long term solution to the roots of the main problem: a lack of knowledge and an absence of opportunities.
To provide education and promote a caring and safe learning environment.
To help villagers assess their strengths and come up with a plan to achieve their local goals.
To help create new opportunities for the villagers through the establishment of an entrepreneurial spirit in the community.
To encourage, improve and sustain income generating activities
To defend and preserve local identity and the environment
To help find long term solutions to poverty
To increase the living standard and quality of life of the villagers
To straightening local initiatives, and develop recreation opportunities for children and families.
To plan short and long term volunteer programs that offer a safe, meaningful,
fun and low cost way to help make a difference amongst those who most need it.
Type of volunteer: teachers, young graduates, Social workers, carpenters, builders and agriculturists, medical professionals (doctors, nurses, and health social workers) found raisers, cameramen for making documentary films on site, people who are interested in helping build up a better place for the villagers.
WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR:
Looking for like-minded people who have walked this path and are willing to share their experience and wisdom. Looking for people willing to lend a hand, into help making of Hold.it a successful and fully functioning non-profit organization. Thank you for reading me.