About Maitri Money
दिल दरिया तो सब बढ़िया, सब बढ़िया जब दिल दरिया
When the heart is abundant, all is well.
All is well when the heart is abundant
Maitri Money is an unconditional community fund that supports projects and people from across the globe. We invite everyone to share Rs (INR) 1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5…. per day i.e. Rs 365/ Rs 730/ Rs 1095/ Rs 1460/ Rs 1825 (or more) per year (or more often) to share further with whomever asks.
Many years ago, I had a purple ankle sock, stuffed with cash and kept safely deep in a drawer of my almirah. As this money was found on the street, I decided to lend it interest free to whoever asked and verbally- lovingly promised to return it. Thus started the "sock experiment". Slowly friends and friends of friends started calling in for financial help. Sometimes they would ask for the whole sock and sometimes a part of what was in it. Everytime the sock went around, it mostly came back on the exact date it was promised on and with the exact amount that was borrowed. The sock had a way of coming back to the drawer, without being chased. The question सोक है क्या? (is the sock there?) became part of my life and so did this dance of unconditional sharing, much before i started the 'dariya dil dukaan' forum on facebook. Demonetisation came and the money had to go to the bank. It was then used to sustain me and many other beings.
Trying out a new way
In the midst of 9000 hectares of the Atlantic national park in Brazil, the highest bio diverse region in the world per hectare (like the jungle in the Avatar film), I had a feeling to do this in a different way. After experimenting for over a decade with other forms of capital (gift, skill exchange, barter, time, presence, love and more) i felt like exploring microgifting (opposite of microfinancing) i.e. using money as a transformatory tool. Thus I wanted to build a trust corpus called "Maitri Money" where 3000 (or more) people pledged INR 365 (or more) per year (or more often) to be shared as a gift with whoever asked in the form of trickle funding 99 folks (including 4 kids) were part of last year's corpus (July 2022- 23) and their contributions equaled 1875 people. Out of sheer gratitude I had offered them my skills, time and presence as a gift for the rest of their lives. This also included people who have donated directly to me/ hired my services for various projects etc. Thus every penny that came to me from July 15th was automatically part of this fund and I received 25% from the monthly pool.
I am in touch with all loving supporters to let them know that the lovebone they are trying to build with me is also available to them!This contribution was collected via a friend's gpay, another friend's paytm account (as i have neither) and my bank, from where it was being slowly dispersed to those who wrote to me for support.Thus, this community micro fund gets built through micro donations and is held and distributed collectively. It creates a sense of belonging amongst the members of the community as it feels good to ask from a community for a financial gift than an individual. Maitri Money is offered as a gift with no hidden expectations of paying it back, paying it forward or joining the corpus. I believe the circle of gift is abundant and shall take care of itself.
How You Can Get Involved?
Write to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to
- contribute to this flow fund
- offer your Maitri Money directly to anyone mentioned in the beneficiary list
- get in touch with the recipients to know their story
- add your name to the SOS Maitri Money list i.e. choosing to not be part of the 3000 people but you would still like to be contacted by me to offer trickle funding during an emergency
- introduce me to other flow funds both in India/ outside
- make up taglines or design creatives for MM
Fill this form to receive from the community fund.
Questions we are holding together
Is all money blood money? If yes, how do we deconstruct it?
Is it ever possible for it to be used for collective well being or launder it to protect the sacred in and around us?
Is it possible for us to experience both abundance and scarcity collectively?
No matter the size of the investment/ gift, are there many ways to activate money for good?
Why can't money be a tool to make life better?
Shouldn't money help us all?
Does money always work against the common good?
Is it possible to together create an economy that values social, environmental and racial justice where money can transform the world for the better and where real wealth and security comes from connection and community?
Frequently (not) asked questions
What if the fund is misused?
Well, technically it could be. The trust the community has in the receivers & the scope of the fund would determine to what extent it could be misused. A good thought experiment would be to put a percentage on the number of times the fund could be misused out of a 100. More often than not, within a community or organization the percentage would not in all probability cross 50%. It would still make the fund a success.
Why focus on micro contributions and not on ‘big ticket’ contributions?
That model already exists in the world. No point recreating it. It’s easier to start small, atomic habits as new agers would put it. It is also a way of consuming less and doing less. If there’s less on offer, there’s only so much that a receiver can do with the project. Sufficiency over scale.
Is it not better to train people to be fiscally responsible in the long run than giving out handouts? Wouldn’t it make people dependent on the fund?
Yes and no. People have immediate needs as well. Just like a band aid solution won’t solve an underlying cause, one cannot wait for (or does not need) a surgery when all one needs is a band aid! A band aid works and a lot of our lives are made up of immediate needs. These flow funds honors the ‘superficiality’ of our immediate needs.
Salaried employees are dependent on their employers. People with investments are dependent on the market. Everyone is dependent on someone else in our monetary system. Why should people who face scarcity not depend on a community they belong to? It’s wiser to assume that the wisdom of the community will stop any member from becoming co-dependent on the fund./
How is Maitri Money (MM) a Truly Mutual Fund (TMF)?
A TMF unlike a traditional Mutual Fund (MF) is not just good for you and others who invest in this fund but it’s good for the larger community and the environment. It expands the domain of reciprocity from a group of contributors to the entire planet.
How does a TMF work?
TMF like a traditional MF pools money from people continuously through the year. This pooled asset is always available to different individuals, projects and initiatives in the socio- spiritual- environmental space.
Just like an investor trusts a fund manager to protect his investment, a contributor to TMF trusts the community handling the fund to share it judiciously.
Why should you invest in MM?
MFs gives you return in only one form of capital- money. Granted, monetary capital is an important form of capital in today’s world but it’s not THE only one with value. This TMF provides you with ROI in multiple capitals- social, experiential, natural and cultural.
MFs create financial wealth for a handful of investors but it's a part of a larger economic framework that enables depletion of various other forms of wealth in communities and the natural world. However this TMF ensures that your contribution builds wealth and capital for people healing themselves and the world around them.
The investment in TMF from a single person impacts half a dozen projects simultaneously, thus more lives than s/he would if they invested in a single project/ initiative.
What if the funds get used to spread propaganda/ spread hatred/ incite violence etc?
Aren't most of the beneficiaries known to us or someone that we know well by just 1 or 2 degrees of separation? There's no way of every being hundred percent sure but a trust based community fund has to run on trust. We think if 99 out of a 100 beneficiaries use it judiciously and 1 uses it in a sub par and subversive manner, that's okay. The beneficiary will lose trust and that's not as easy to make or gain as micro funds. One must be ready to have their heart broken if they want to be in love with the world/ otherwise
She is the founder of (inter) nationally acclaimed alternative initiatives in: gift culture, zero waste lifestyle, minimalism, slow travel, flow funds, reclaiming your food one pot at a time, living a self designed- intentional- deschooled life etc.
More about her skill set- work- life- travels: