Strange that something I have always held as true is validated time and again, even when you pray that this one time one should be proved wrong.
When we set out to establish a model for education support in order to contain drop out rates, we wanted to evolve one that could be replicated and one that whit stood the test of time and space. Hence our decision to select local resources both human and material. Now if we were to go by school results as the only criteria of success, then we have been successful. But that is not enough as statistics published last week state that 100 000 children between 6 and 10 years of age are not in school in Delhi alone.
Were there many little clones of pwhy in all areas where we these kids are, than maybe things would be different. But that entails an in-built sustainability and that is where we have not done as well. Our efforts to seed and nurture the one-rupee programme has been a non starter.
My firm conviction that this is the ultimate weapon that would free children remains stubbornly in my mind. What seems to be the problem is our lack of competence in packaging and marketing the idea.
So I thought the time had come for a debriefing and the first step was to cross-examine myself. There are many things that happened along these six years that I could not have imagined. One is our frequent trysts with the labour courts and the other is the extremely passive attitude of some of our staff who refuse to take things in their hand and content themselves with doing what they think is their duty leaving me to raise funds for their 'salaries'! If many funders have been honest enough to ask what would happen after me, the staff members have not.
The fault is not with them; the fault lies in India's reality where any social grouping is the reflection of the macro reality. What is good for the gander.. says the proverb. So all societal ills are very much part of our work, the ones that prevail across India, and the ones that are particular to Delhi. Divisive forces ready to play the caste/creed game, the sarkari (government) job syndrome which means goes by the credo: minimum work and maximum cribbing, the lack of motivation to take challenges and the plethora of dubious well wishers waiting to pounce of soft targets like us with the vilest accusations.
To be able to fine tune pwhy as a model, it has become imperative to take some tough steps in order to be able to turn the equation and make people want and seek our presence, be it parents or staff members.
The innumerable problems that plague India will not find a solution if they are addressed from the top only. It is only when things change at the micro level that programmes will percolate down and reach out the true beneficiaries. In the present scenario what is meant for the poor cleverly and insidiously hijacked..
It is time for some plain talking at pwhy, even if it means starting again, the difference being that this time all programmes will be initiated by the beneficiaries and nurtured by them.I have resisted this many times, be it my ego, or my reticence that I had been wrong, or my innate and candid faith in the goodness of all beings, or my incapacity to assess the deviousness of my detractors, or my belief that my ways would prevail. I do not know.
Today I realise that, I too was a reflection or the macro reality, and that what was needed was to turn the tables.
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