Why the World Never Changes

Trina Talukdar

I am angry. And that is why neither is the title very creative, nor is this article going to be. I am too angry to be literary.

There are over 3000 NGOs in Bangalore working in the welfare sector. And I’m guessing, just as many in the other metros. At least a tenth that number in the smaller cities. So how many does that make in India? A million? So why doesn’t anything ever change? Why doesn’t it become better? Why are there no less beggars or street children or drug addicts or poor people or oppressed women?

BECAUSE NO ONE DOES SHIT! All these NGOs…they don’t do shit! I will start by talking about one NGO, the one I’m working with right now: SOS village. So they get Rs. 5 lakh every month for their village outreach programs. And what do they do with this money. They randomly choose 15 villages, 5-8 families from each village, based on…well…nothing…just the people they run into first, I guess. And they give Rs. 250 a month for the education of each child in these families. In their project reports which they send back to their funders, they write that they are changing the life of these children by sending them to school, raising the standards of living of the village. Funders are happy. SOS is happy. The only people who are not happy are the villagers…the only people who were supposed to be made happy by the project, to begin with.

So if we calculate, SOS spends about Rs. 1.5 lakhs paying for these children’s schools every month. Where does the rest of the Rs. 3.5 lakhs go? The coffers of the project manager, or his boss, or his boss, or they probably divide it all.

I know what you’re thinking. A few more children are going to school than they otherwise would. That’s a positive change, right? Wrong. Rs. 250 a month is not enough to send a child to school and give him significant education, that is uniform, books, tutions. And these children go to the village government school, where I’m sure you all know what the standard of education is. These children will never go beyond Class 10, 12 if lucky. And then what? They’ll become daily wage labourers like their parents. So the circle has come a full round and absolutely nothing has changed between the generations.

I started with the example of SOS because I’m affected by it currently. But it’s the same story everywhere. BOSCO and YMCA who try to rehabilitate street children… they catch children off the streets and keep them in a rehab home and send them to some shit school. Children who are used to freedom, and are in 9 out of 10 cases addicted to drugs, equate the rehab home to jail and run away, to be caught and put back there again so they can run away again. I have met people who said its not the NGO’s fault, its the street children’s fault. They don’t know what’s good for them. You and I, if we were given an opportunity to roam the streets free, spend all day roaming around with our friends, and not study, wouldn’t we do the same?

And I can go on. About most NGOs I’ve worked with and my friends have worked with. Oh…I was going to end this article, but can’t without mentioning this. It’s too juicy! My friend is working with an NGO in Bihar funded by Amitabh Bachhan and Amar Singh. It supposedly works for flood relief. So my friend walks in there on the first day of work and no one’s in office because they’re all doing election campaigning. She digs a little deeper and finds out the whole goddamn organisation is a big farce for tax exemption for Bachhan and Singh.

I laughed when I heard that. But what do I do? Scream? Shout? Cry? How do I change this world?

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"Why the World Never Changes" by @bongbuzz

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  1. You mean the money is stolen on its way at various levels right? That’s really a sorry state of affairs but that is the bitter truth. I know of a person who runs an NGO with the only motive of earning (foreign) money.. forget social service! We have NGOs fighting for the environment but the industrialist they are fighting against often put a leash on them by greasing their palms.

    These things are there and won’t change immediately. But I also feel there should be enough perks for people working in this sector. That is important too.

  2. You are absolutely right.
    Oh, there are perks… you have no idea how much money there is in the welfare sector. I don’t mind social workers taking home big salaraies at least if they utilise the rest of the money to do something constructive. But they don’t even do tht…