Avinya Foundation

#8 Carrots, A-ha moments and Personal Visions

Have you ever found an answer or a solution staring you in the face but you couldn’t see it because you were just too close to it?

As contradictory as that may sound, I have to be honest – it’s happened to me several times. 

This week has been a week of chaotic mornings and a mad rush to find answers and solutions, only to find after much pain and effort that it was right there, staring me in the face!

I don’t just mean with work stuff, the answers staring me in the face all started this week with carrots. Yes carrots. (Ironically aren’t they good for your eyesight?)

The other day I was putting in my weekly shop online. I’m meticulous about my weekly shop. 1) I hate to be distracted during the week with missing items and surprise visits to grocery stores and 2) remember how we aren’t really the kind of family where everyone eats the same thing at each meal. Dietary restrictions I’m afraid.

So, I make a weekly food plan for each person in our house. It’s the only way I can process the food side of the week. It took me awhile to get here but I highly recommend the exercise. It shaves minutes and even hours out of each day faffing about what to have for each meal.

So, back to carrots and my weekly shop. As I click on ‘checkout’ – there it is! The annoying error message ‘requested quantity not available’. I then proceed to spend a useless chunk of time trying to inefficiently figure out what the item is. 


Simply because I didn’t take a step back to process the actual problem, I missed seeing what was right in front of me. I assumed the one which had the ‘requested quantity not available’ would be the one on top of my list or somehow easy to spot. So, I walked away from my computer for a bit. No, it wasn’t because I heard a tumble and had to go check for proof of life in my house 😉

I got back to the webpage and then clicked through to the next pages and that’s when I saw it. Staring me right in the face.

The carrots! 

So, yes, I didn’t have any carrots this week. I substituted with cabbage 🙂 I won’t bore you anymore with my grocery shopping but I hope the anecdote helps in some way. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to learn and relearn this lesson on taking a step back and walking away when things get too crazy. When you come back to it, the answer will most probably be right there staring you in the face or better yet come to you in the shower 😉

“It’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower.”

Paul Graham, YCombinator Co-founder

It’s true. Isn’t it?

Don’t you have those A-ha moments too in the shower?

Here’s another short anecdote on this same topic. Don’t worry it is Avinya related this time 🙂

I had to rewrite a paper this week which I’d written a few weeks ago. It was nicely settled in my system and the thoughts had found comfortable lodging in my head as well. It’s only when Sanjiva asked me a very valid question about it did I think to myself, how come I missed that? 

Easy… I was too close to it. I needed to take a step back and walk away. Shower even maybe 😉

I gave my head time to let the thoughts and ideas swirling around to settle down. Then, I sat back down and looked at it with a fresh mind and the problem just stared right back. It had been there all this time, yet I had been too close to see it. Even though taking the time to come back to it caused my feeble heart a whole lot of panic, I think the end result was worth it.

Right, apart from carrots, showers and rewriting papers, what else have we been up to this week…

  • Admissions systems


Samisa and Rukmal have retreated into coding caves. I imagine them to be dark caves with minimal lighting, no windows and their families feeding them through slots in the door. On other days I imagine them in photo darkrooms with red lighting for the photos to be developed where the light of the outside world will not affect the final masterpiece.

I think we definitely have a masterpiece in the making!

They are navigating a lot of hurdles on a daily basis and we think it almost broke Samisa this week, yet he persevered. The end is nigh they say and by the end of this week our system should be up and running for initial testing.

What’s next?

Getting the word out to our future students. Will we have a spot for all who apply? Unfortunately not. We have 120 spaces and we need to fill it with students who have the motivation, ability and passion to follow our unique alternative education pathway in the selected vocations. As Sanjiva tells us we can’t help everyone but we can make sure we help the ones we do to the fullest!

Preparing communication material to resonate with our future students and parents is high priority as the clock ticks away and we need to get the right students in the door to make our vision a reality and give them the tools to hold their dreams in their hands!

I love that we keep asking ourselves if we know what we are doing. This may sound strange but it ensures that we keep aligning ourselves to our mission. Awhile ago, Sanjiva wrote an inspiring blog on personal vision and he shared it the other day with the team. (See: https://medium.com/@sanjiva.weerawarana/what-is-vision-and-why-is-it-important-to-you-individually-586224e13cec.)

We want all of our students to have a personal vision. Without one, you are a part of someone else’s story. We need to be the hero or heroine of our own and that is the essence of Avinya. We give our students a real chance to be just that!

  • Educator training


Dee has been busy putting together a plan for five of our educators who will join us next week. We are eagerly waiting to have the growing team come together and as we get more hands on deck the stronger we will be and closer to achieving our goals.

On a final note, this week, on Tuesday (October 11th) we celebrated the International Day of the Girl Child. Coincidentally my daughter brings home a book from her school which she’s super excited about called The Mum-Minder by Jacqueline Wilson. She reads it enthusiastically and I ask her what she liked about the book. She tells me she loves the main character, Sadie, who is so helpful and kind. Sadie is also the name of her favourite soft toy at the moment. Her favourite part though she says, is a phrase the characters say to each other a lot in the book “Us girls have to stick together”.

I thought it would be apt to end with that anecdote to showcase how special a day it is to celebrate and how girls can accomplish pretty much anything in this new world they are entering and how we can all pave the way to make sure they can be anything they dream about. Of course, and the boys too!

Have a good week everyone!

– Anju