Showing posts with label NGO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NGO. Show all posts

Jul 7, 2008

Poverty in India

A Mouthful of Miseries or a Streak of Hope? YOU DECIDE! We are so lucky to be able to think about other things like creativity for our little ones, besides the bare necessities of life. There are parents and children out there who are putting their wits together each day to feed their hungry stomachs.

How about sacrificing an evening with friends or budgeting a lavish birthday party to help the needy children instead. Donate some money, play with them, chat, teach them ways of earning a living or simply share a laugh with them. Add some colour into their lives. They dont need your sympathy. They need your love and concern.

Read the heart wrenching article that follows...

The secret to our future - Joyshri Lobo (The Tribune, Chandigarh)

THE view from the large, French windows at the gym in Sector 9 is interesting. Half a dozen children gambol around green spaces. They wear handouts, chase each other, rile the puppies that arrived a few months ago and smile a lot. Their distinguishing, common feature is that they are very thin and dirty. The moment the traffic lights change colour, they rush to the waiting cars and whine, asking for alms. Some succeed, others do not, but in the end the same young woman who is standing under the trees, darts out to collect the loot and the children start playing their games again. A visit to some of the slums around the city reveals that the kids are trained to beg. Their mentors feed and guide them in the profession. It is just another job in a country that cannot fill a billion bellies. Shades of Oliver Twist and Fagin?

Some huts in the slums have TVs, fans and fridges. These minimal amenities are there because of the shared earnings. As I sweat it out on the treadmill, I become more and more aware of the great divide between those working out on the road and I at the gym. They invent games and laugh like demons. They eat whatever they get while I cannot find a table at a popular restaurant on a Sunday evening because my food tastes are very discerning and any type of food will not do. I am shedding the extra kilos gained but the kids have no such worries. If they can sleep on a full stomach, it is a blessing.

The above mentioned is a material and monetary divide. There is hope on other fronts. We watched two street-plays created by college students and performed by the children of Hamari Kaksha. They put forward depressing social issues humorously, riveting our attention. Each actor was unselfconscious and hugely enjoying him/herself. This total abandon and freedom comes from having very little. Just being recognised and doing things that do not form the daily drudge to keep alive, are worthwhile and fun. If learning is added to this, it is a bonus. AIDS, blood donation, female foeticide and dowry are serious social issues that are dragging the country down. If the poorest of poor can be made aware of them through NGOs, government institutions and us — the future citizens of India — have a better chance of survival.

At DIR India, I told the open-mouthed children a story about a tiger and a sour, miserly man who was eaten by the hungry beast. The story was illustrated with hand puppets made from cut off sleeves. Our awareness about the less fortunate is limited. We do not introspect, look around or empathise. We relegate them into a corner of the mind that does not want to know. Two young girls and a little boy from Welham’s Dehradun, came to help. They sat on the floor amongst the aanganwadi children and made newspaper planes, boats and hats for every one. It was a joyous day for all the children. Baljit Dhatt and her college-going daughter Simran tend to a refugee camp. They care like a lot of us should.

Old newspapers, cut off sleeves, children from all stratas, gifted college and school students and a few people who want to help those who have nothing — the potpourri is heady and fragrant. It is a recipe for progress and the uplift of India.
Have you ever done anything worthwhile for a child besides your own? Do you want to help add a smile to a needy child's life? How?