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An eager social worker’s first-hand experience of working in the field. The scales fall off her eyes, but the urge to help the needy burns just as fierce.
The first time I earned my own money, this is what I thought: how can I help the many needy people around me, with the little money I have? My heart went out to all those AIDS patients, mothers and their children suffering from thalassemia, that I had witnessed so closely for the last month.
My officially first job was with a renowned NGO in Kolkata, which I joined right after completing my Masters in Social Work final exams. I was a young dreamer with a desire to bring about social change with all my energies and hard work. But with the lack of experiences at my age, I failed to realise the actual difference I could bring, as a fresh graduate.
I had great dreams of serving humanity, for which I fought against my dad and pursued my degree. My cousin brother said, “You shall step back when you see the practical field politics at your job. You know nothing about the outside world.” So true!
Here I was sitting with my first pay check in my hand, and more than happiness, I felt disappointment, for I could not do much with my hard-earned money.
I had to make field visits with no proper meals, in the scorching sun and sweat hard to earn this little amount, throughout the month. I joined as a monitoring and documentation personnel and had to keep reports of all the field works carried out, projects undertaken within a given month by that particular unit of the organisation.
I carried the office camera, visited street shows on awareness generation regarding HIV/ AIDS, using condoms and safe sex. We visited red light areas, interacted with the sex workers and talked to them on awareness generation against AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. The ICTC counsellor took their blood samples for HIV tests, as well as tuberculosis and thalassemia.
I had met with and talked to mothers with their children, suffering from thalassemia. It was pathetic. I could not help them with either money or blood. The blood transfusion initially helped, but for how long? All I could do was cheer them up by greeting them with warmth and love, and asking how they were doing that day. We were not allowed to share things with them.
What really hurt was, when the funding agencies (mostly foreigners) made their visits, the mothers and kids were given beautiful dresses and good food – for just one single day. This was to impress upon the funding agencies how nicely the programme was being carried out. Orders came from above and we were mere puppets that followed them.
Meanwhile, every weekend we had parties with the money, at the most popular halls and regencies in the city, in name of seminars and project planning. The lunch after some hi-fi project planning (that was never really executed) was sumptuous.
I soon realised that it was lack of education that leads to ignorance and the miserable conditions of women, their kids and society as a whole. I took the decision finally. I donated almost all the money of my income from the first month of working (keeping some to gift to my parents for a meditation retreat) to an organisation working for the education of the girl child. The organisation is personally known to me and donates the collected money for the education of girls in need.
Only if girls are educated, will our society be developed, and evolve in every field. Only educated mothers can take care of their health, lives and pass on the legacy to their children, and help build a better future.
I was more than contented, and continued to do so for the next few months till I left my job, refusing to be a puppet to the management any longer. Those few months were an eye-opener for me and I loved writing this down for you all to deeply ponder and take action in your lives.
Image by tyaqakk from Pixabay
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A single mom, freedom lover, passionate about life, self-employed (teaching and learning), love writing
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