Rural empowerment and why I don’t do charitable works
09 Oct 2016
If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.Mother Theresa - Saint
Charity is generally giving of help that is done by your free will. The help is usually given to the unfortunate and is mostly money or material given to those in need.
The idea of charity might have worked in the past and maybe still working, but I don’t believe this is going to work any longer in the future when it comes to rural empowerment. I’m also not against charity or the idea that poor and unfortunate people should be fed.
The macro & the micro
There are always two ways to look at any problem. Consider a problem where most students from the rural areas of the southern districts of Tamil Nadu are unable get into a good career after graduation. On a micro level, you talk to the individual student and try to understand why they are unable to get into a good career after their graduation. The key issues that are stopping them are:
- Lack of good communication skills
- Lack of self confidence
On a macro level, you look at the society to understand the key issues. There are numerous problems in the society but everything boils down to:
- Students are not empowered
The educational system, human values in the society and the lack of love and bonding in the family majorly contribute to the lack of empowerment.
The action plan
Now that we know the micro and the macro issues, what should be our action plan? Are we going to correct the micro issues which may seem to be easy to fix but is still going to be an on-going issue or do we correct the macro issues which is not easy but might help on a long term?
Most charities offer to look at the micro issues and provide training and placements to rural students. How far is this effective? Not everyone who has been trained and placed carry the compassion to help their fellows. On the micro level, charities only focus on providing free training and placement to students who are unable to get into a job. These activities however does not prevent new students from having the same problem in the future. This charitable work proves to become unfruitful and the benefactor might lose hope soon.
The reason most charities do not want to pick the task of fixing the macro issue is because that macro issue of empowering rural students can not be achieved with just money unlike the micro issue where money plays a vital role in the training and placement of the rural students. The key issue of empowerment of rural students does not have a single cause that can be directly addressed to. Hence, this requires an effective system and a process that can be periodically validated and improved upon to empower the current and future generation.
Key reasons for failure
Empowerment of rural students is the need of the hour and not a charity to promote free training and placements. I do agree that free training and placements are required to address the problem at the micro level but my only argument is that we should address the root cause instead of treating the problem. These days most of us, including the government, favor quick fixes and not long term healing. Rural empowerment of students, does not only make them fight unfavorable situations without being dependent on others and make a change in their own lives but also extend to offer help to others who are in a similar need.
Key reasons most charitable organizations fails to empower rural students include:
- They need immediate results for a sustainable income/growth
- They have branded themselves as something that is free – which generally means cheap or not of high worth/value
- A genuine charitable organization is not easy to find
- They work hard to keep their administration costs low so they have more money to do the actual work. But they end up with more money and no time to do the actual work of rural empowerment.
- They try to please everyone so find it hard to bring about a change in the society.
Who can empower?
The last question for this discussion is possibly who else can them empower these rural students if charities can not do it? I strongly believe that it is YOU!
Yes, you can be part of rural empowerment. It’s not just the money that can do this. If it was, the charitable organizations or the government itself would have easily solved this creeping problem. Unfortunately, this is a macro level issue that needs to be addresses at a micro level – meaning, the mass of the problem should be addressed wholly and individually. For example, understand the macro picture of the problem and the root cause, form a team of 2 or 3 like minded people, discuss possible strategy and course of action for one year. Execute your plans with the help of a like minded friend or colleague in the local rural area.
I believe this way, many could contribute to the rural empowerment and be accountable for what they do.