There have been a few times when I have wanted to shut project why because of incidents that defeat the purpose of my entire life mission. Thank God these have been far and few but each time, they hurt and hurt and want to make you scream in despair. I really had hoped that we had seen the last of the machinations of wily politicians and shady trade unions. But alas that was not to be! In these moments my way of dealing with these issues in not concealing or hiding them but airing them for all to know.
Part of the support I have got emanates I think from my being honest in all ways possible, specially when things do not look good. Some time back an ugly incident occurred in our creche. It was a day when one staff was absent and the children particularly agitated and to crown it all, as it was summers, many kids had upset tummies. One little girl had dirtied herself over and over again and one of our teachers, who must have had a bad day at home, got exasperated and slapped the poor child. Though there was another teacher present the matter was not brought to the attention of the management. The child was sent home and needless to say the mother went ballistic. I would have to!
To make matters worse she lodged a police complaint and mercifully the matter was sorted amicably. Now beating a child is a no no at pwhy! So in spite of the fact that the teachers had been with us for a long time and were good teachers, it was decided to terminate their services. They did appeal but the management felt that this was a mistake that could not be forgiven and not only had a child been beaten but the proper way of handling the situation has not been taken and matters made worse by trying to conceal a grave misdemeanour.
One teacher accepted the decision and we found her another job. The other fell for the skewed advice of her relative who is a small union worker and decided to make an issue. A few days ago she threatened our computer to staff and told them she would break computers, throw stones and even hit herself and accuse us of having hurt her if they opened the centre the next day. The centre is located close to her home and thus she has the support of her family and relations. We opened the computer centre the next day and she was told to come to the office and meet me on a particular day. I do not go to pwhy these days so on Monday I went to office and waited for the teacher to come. She did not. The next day she came with some flimsy excuse and as I was not there, she simply told the coordinator that as she was not being taken back, she would now take action. It was nothing short of a threat! I was given to understand that she intended to play the caste card.
One of project why's success has been to empower and train a whole team plucked from the very community and beneficiaries it reaches out to. Caste was never in our minds as I am rabidly against the caste card that his played and replayed ad nauseum by politicos and their acolytes. So threatening me with the caste card is nonsensical and makes me see red. If one was to peruse our caste profile, one would realise at once that it is the so called high castes that are in a minority. But sadly the caste card is one that is too often played to create problems.
So we are looking at either yet another labour court case. I wish the Government had made some laws for not for profit organisations that depend on donors and thus do not 'make' money! last time we were taken to the labour court, the case was filed under the Shops and Establishments Act! The other option is a complaint at the SC ST Commission.
The sad part is that a poor uneducated woman will be used as a pawn so that politicos get some brownie points in a pre-election year. I must admit that in spite of working for over a decade on the field we have not been able to expose such games in a convincing way. This would be one of our failures. But is is also proof of how much the caste and creed issue is kept alive by our politicians to meet their hidden agendas. It is this very approach of division and reservation that has not allowed our country to grow. We have mastered and perfected the divide and rule policy of our colonisers. It will take more than another generation to free ourselves of these shackles.
We had thought of finding an alternative job for this lady. But now, after her real threats we will not be in a position to do anything for her. Anyone who threatens to throw stones and break computers cannot be trusted.
I feel sad and dejected. These are the times when I feel like locking everything up and moving on.