I had been planning to post this since morning but somehow didn’t get the time to do it but finally I’m able to complete it now. This is for “Blog Action Day 2008” on Poverty
Last week while coming back from office, I was waiting at one of the auto stands when I observed this little child trying to study in a very dim light placed near the ironing stall. His father irons clothes on that stall and since it is just adjacent to that auto stand, so I get to notice it quite often. While I was waiting I overheard the conversation of the child with his father where he was asking for money to buy 5 notebooks and his father was saying why can’t he write everything in one notebook only and why 5? That little guy kept on insisting that he needs 5 as his teacher has asked him to use different notebooks for different subjects and also his old notebook is almost over but his father very irritatingly told that he doesn’t have spare money to support the tantrums of his school. With so much of difficulty he is able to manage the fees of his school and now these rules and regulations! I wasn’t able to decipher much as they were speaking in mixed language (Hyderabadi Hindi) but all I could see was the disappointed face of that child at the end of their conversation. Unable to hold myself any further, I asked that boy, “how much money do you need”? The boy got conscious and replied in good English “no thanks madam, I don’t need it”. I insisted again but the child didn’t agree, finally I said, “ok don’t take money, let me buy the notebooks for you from this nearby shop”…initially he hesitated but then he agreed! We went to this small stationery shop where I asked the shopkeeper to give 5 notebooks, I asked the boy if he needs anything else, he very politely said no. I asked the shopkeeper to include a pen also in the list and the bill came to Rs.90. Well, 90 bucks is hardly anything for most us considering our day to day expenses but the gleam in his eyes and the gratitude with which he thanked me is something which I can’t explain in words. Honestly speaking I felt good and the small child made me feel as if I’ve done something important in life.
Did I do it for charity? My answer will be clear cut no. Did I do it thinking he was a poor man in need of money? My answer will be again no. Well, then why did I do it? Simply because the child was in need of money for something as important as education! And I have much respect for that child whom I have often noticed to concentrate on his studies even in such adverse conditions and who has got this spark to learn and do something. The first thought which came to my mind was if his father would have been educated enough then may be his life would not have been the same. And tomorrow if this child will not be educated maybe his son will also end up in the same rut like his. Yes, EDUCATION which is the first step towards eradication of poverty. I generally don’t support begging habits & it was not the question of money here and but the fact that the child was trying to get educated. I know my one day of such small contribution can’t guarantee that the child will get to continue his education in future as well but at least for that day his education needs were fulfilled. Quite a few of us do not do even our little bit, thinking what can such small contributions do or how can such small amount help in larger issues! But well even though it’s a clichéd statement still it’s true that little drops make a large ocean. Here are some of the steps which I think most of us can take in our normal day to day life to fight with something as serious as poverty.
- Support education and educational needs of genuinely needy people. You don’t need to go to any NGO or social organization to do it. Just look around, you might find your maid’s son or your driver’s daughter in need of education. Help him/her get literate.
- Try to sponsor the education of one girl child every year, it’s hardly anything for most of us. And if you can’t sponsor the complete yearly fees, at least do it for a month. It is said if a woman is educated, she definitely tries to get her child educated as well.
- Even simpler, you can just buy some stationery like notebooks, pencil, pens etc and distribute it amongst the genuinely needy people. I’m sure most of the corporates these days have listings of NGOs who can provide you the right avenues for such donations.
- Ok, without money as well you can do lots. If you have free time on weekends, how about contributing your time in teaching voluntarily to needy people. You can join some NGO or movements like TOI Teach India etc. If you search you will get enough opportunities to utilize your time more effectively.
- Don’t waste food, think of that small girl with a naked baby in her hand who keeps running to clean your car glass on every traffic signal and how she begs for food / money.
On this “Blog Action Day” when I stand for the cause of Poverty, I urge all my readers to at least do their bit. One of the biggest reasons for poverty is illiteracy, so scan your environment and support the needy to get educated! Education will definitely help in eradicating poverty to a large extent and remember “no contribution is a small contribution”.