To read the first part of To Fund a Museum, click here.
By Malavika Neurekar
In 2009,with help from Dr. Paulo Varela Gomes, Victor Hugo was invited to Portugal on aFundacao Orient(Foundation of the Orient) scholarship. There, he engaged in dialogue with persons holding important posts in the museum world, alongside visiting anthropological and ethnographic museums and academic research centres. It also gave him an opportunity to interact with the Goans in Portugal and spread awareness about his vision for Goa. On the last dayof his visit, he was part of a talk on Goan architecture at Casa Da Goa. In his speech, he evoked the nostalgia of the fellow Goans present in the audience, describing Goa as “an ailing grandmother” in urgent need of care and revival. He spoke about the need for a worldwide campaign to generate an escrow fund for the security and maintenance of the museum. He urged people to donate, not out of obligation but out of a sense of responsibility, inviting a minimum donation of even one Euro so young children could participate. At the end of his speech, the then Member of Parliament of Goan Origin in Portugal handed Victor two Euros. “On behalf of Casa de Goa,” he said.
Over the years, there have been many open-hearted gestures of generosity that have supplemented Goa Chitra’s financing. One such example that dates back to much before Goa Chitra even opened to the public was that of the brothers, Marcos and Oswald Cardozo. It was the year 2008. The museum collection was in place, the architecture complete, but visitors and guests arrived only through word-of-mouth recommendations. Goa Chitra had neither received widespread media coverage, nor earned a spot on the ‘must-visit’ list of most tourist guides. Why did so much time lapse between actually setting up the place and publicly inaugurating it on 2nd November 2009? It was a question put forth by Marcos Cardozo of Ruby Realtors Pvt. Ltd. Victor’s reply was simply due to the fear of lack of security. A few days later, Victor received a call from a company called Zicom based in Bangalore inquiring about his address. They were on their way to install the security equipment. “I haven’t placed an order,” Victor told them. He was taken aback by the response he received from the other end of the line. A company called Ruby Realtors had placed the order and taken care of the payments. Victor was touched by this display of benevolence. Another such example was Leo Pereira of L&L Builders undertook the responsibility of making cash payments to the security guard for the first year after Goa Chitra’s inauguration.
Jump to 2015. Victor was heading a heritage trail for two visitors, Mr. Hans Van Wijk and Mr. Willem Philipse from Belgium. He frequently holds interactive heritage walks and tours, taking interested people to the state’s unexplored and off-beat locations, as a part of earning revenue for Goa Chitra. He took Mr. Wijk and Mr. Philipse to the interiors of the state, giving them a firsthand experience of a Goa they had never seen before.It was much after the departure of the two men that Victor found out that they were, in fact, Aerodata founders who had done the Arial survey and photography of the world for Google and Microsoft! He was even more astonished when, after a few weeks, he received a cash donation from Hans Van Wijk via a bank transfer.
Cash donations to Goa Chitra have been made by individuals as well as organizations. The cultural committee of the Goan Overseas Association in Toronto organized a one-day interactive speaker’s presentation called Your Goa 101 on 7th May, 2011. This was initiated by a young Goan diaspora from Canada who had visited Goa Chitra on a Know Goa programme. The goal of this interactive session was to educate the Goan diaspora in Toronto about the rich heritage and culture of Goa. The committee also decided to use the event to raise funds for Goa Chitra and raised 120 Canadian dollars as their contribution. The Goan community in California, via a fund-raising drive by the NGO Goa Sudharop, have also raised Rs. 50,000.The long list of cash donors includes Dom Martin, Helmut Rockemann, Angustias Gomes, Marcos & Oswald Cardozo, Helga Gomes and Joaquim Goes, Leo Pereira, Evencio Quadros, Sampooran Singh Kalra Gulzar, Mario Pereira, Philip Neri Rodriques, Ana Theresa Braganza e Rodriques, Sushant Tari, Vince Costa, Dr. Bellinda Viegas, Romila Cota Carvalho, Shaila Faleiro, Braz Menezes, Merle Almeida, Dr. Hubert Gomes, Charrudatta Prabhudesai, Dr. Marina and Tony Correa Afonso, Dr. Bailon De Sa family, Mr. Percival Noronha, Dr. Deepa & Bala Iyer, Valmiki Faleiro, Adv. Sarto Almeida, Agnelo and Patricia Pinto, Anoop and Savia Babani, Fatima Gomes and Maria Luz Gomes Rebello besides 150 odd members who annually renew their Goa Chitra membership. Then there were those who contributed in kind to help with the infrastructure of the museum. Leo Pereira, Marcus Cardozo, and Oswald Cardozo donated construction material; Sushant Tari and Manish Sadekar supplied labour to paint some of the structures at no cost; and the Pai Kane Group gave a discount on the purchase of the generator. Victor is also grateful to suppliers Pankaj Kakode (Kakode Trading LLP) and Ramdas Kakode (R. P. Kakode), Khope Agencies, and M/s Anand G. Sardesai and metal fabricator Blaize Brito who gave him credit time for payment. It is because of contributions such as these that Victor has not given up hope when it comes to the sustenance of Goa Chitra. He remains forever indebted to their generosity.