India Uncut

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Monday, January 03, 2005

Despatches 20: Empathy from within

At Panjakubbam I meet a gentleman named Kumaraguru, a volunteer for SFI. He is living with the villagers, and here is what he says about it:
The government comes here and gives money, food, but those are hand-outs, and a lot of people resent that. They do not speak out about what they really want, they feel embarrassed to speak about their loss. But if you come and live with them, become a part of their lives, then they begin to trust you. They tell you what they need, what they are going through, and only then can you really help them. You have to be one of them.

I can vouch for the truth of what he is saying. The government comes and goes, aid workers come and go, a large number of volunteers come for an extended weekend, give out aid, and are gone. But some stay back, like Kumaraguru, and not only “adopt a village”, in the terminology of some NGOs, but are adopted by it. That human touch makes so much difference.
amit varma, 2:18 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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