Out of Darkness, Towards the Light

Darkness to lightThe long, dark year is over. Months of life-threatening illness combined with money problems to make my 2017 a year not to be repeated and best forgotten. It has been a challenge both personally and for the IMAXI Cooperative, which was also down and out for months at a time. The darkness obscured the route ahead, and our important research project on participation in global health institutions, All Aboard, had to be halted before it arrived at its final destination.

It was not the first year in which some of IMAXI activities had to be postponed or cancelled due to our members, all volunteers, falling either seriously ill, seriously skint or just blown off track. Yet 2017 will be the last. The Board of the IMAXI Cooperative has decided at its recent meeting to change its way of working so that a crisis affecting individual members does not derail all of our collective efforts. In short, we recognise that our all-volunteer approach to functioning must change, and that resources should be found so that project teams are supported both financially and materially. The failure of one individual’s health or finances must not bring the collective’s progress to a full stop again.

 This change requires that the Cooperative establish a revenue stream independent of the projects that we develop. We are presently studying three different ideas which could possibly deliver sufficient income to provide some support for our activities and the activists who work on them. This would be a major relief as IMAXI has tried to function only through our own donations since it was established in 2010. Since we are all poor, living with disabilities or diseases, this system may have been appropriate to ‘start-up’, but it is no longer workable. So we are down in the IMAXI Forge, designing some prototypes for our own use. In the next few weeks we will decide which of these would work best.

After a year often derailed in the darkness, we are now beginning to roll forward. We can not only see the light at the end of this long tunnel, but can almost breathe the fresh air that awaits us. From full stop to full speed ahead, soon.

MayDay at IMAXI Cooperative

MayDay at IMAXIOn MayDay 2010, the IMAXI Cooperative was officially established as a voluntary association or NGO. Founded and driven by a handful of poor people living with life-threatening diseases and disabilities from diverse communities, with a shared experience of having to struggle for our rights, the IMAXI Cooperative is a small international NGO. We’ve come together, in common cause, to help our peers to empower themselves and their communities so that others might not also be denied their rights.

Drawing on decades of our collective experiences as community and global health activists, we design and develop collaborative tools and projects, while advocating for the greater participation of those most affected in the policy-making process and implementation of programmes. Our members have seen firsthand how a ‘seat at the table’ of decision-makers can bring substantial improvements to the health and well being of their communities. We have also seen the deaths and suffering that comes with not having any voice in how public health services are designed and implemented.

As a ’volunteer-only’ non-profit organisation, working from our kitchen tables or cyber-cafes and funded only by our own donations, we have focused on forging tools that do not require substantial funding to utilise. With a network of other un-paid yet very engaged activists from diverse communities that help out with different initiatives, we have been able to advance an independent ‘human rights-based approach’ to health and development.

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