25 Mar 2013

Lend Your Hands

There are so many social causes in the world that affects our society and in humanitarian grounds which seriously needs a change. And it would be a difficult task to list them one by one. Before looking for a cure for each issues troubling our world, we must know the root cause of them and remove that scandal.

I believe, directly and indirectly the sole reason behind almost every problem that affects worldwide humanity is Poverty. Yeah, like a disease it has been spread everywhere. It may not have affected you and me, personally, by God’s grace. But if we left it without finding a cure, it becomes the dust in our eyes.
How do we define poverty?  Is it about lack of food, clothing and shelter? Can we say it as the greatest curse or an everlasting terror? Or is too much if I call it as the cause of half the crime on earth - the cause of half the error that is happening around. Would I be wrong if I say it is a weapon of mass destruction?? Or would I be over reacting if I say it is caused by you and me??

Have you ever been hungry?
Every day we may happen to see  such people in our neighborhood or see them in the news and the least we could feel is sorry for them. Or the most we could do is giving them little money which helps them to come out of that day's hunger. It maybe indeed a great thing to do, but do you really think that this is enough to bring about that actual change our society needs in a long term and pull them out of their poor lifestyle? 

Poverty is like heat. You cannot see it. You can only feel it. To know poverty you have to go through it. - A Saying from Ghana, Africa.

As such, the poor people are more worried about food than human rights or other values. The immediate solution to their problem of the day. Anything can wait but not the hunger and chronic poverty of the masses. Basically, what people want and need is enough food to eat and water to drink, a roof over their heads, a job, a school for their children, medicine and care when they are sick, the chance to live in peace without fear of violence and war. And mainly the opportunity to realize the potential in each and every one of us and make use of it. 

The scandal is not only that so many lack the chance to fulfill their potential for want of an education, basic hygiene and medical care, or a functioning economy. Nor is it only that each day one in six human beings has to live on less than one dollar or that 30000 children die needlessly or that half a million women still die in pregnancy or child birth or that we could give medical treatment to every single person in the world that needs it, but we have not. And as days are passing by, the rich are getting wealthier and the poor remains poorer. Thus we have created enough gap in our society to differentiate ourselves.

I remember I have studied that there are two different types of poverty - one is related with minimum standards of living in the developing or under developed countries. The other refers to the way we treat the people. The inequality humans create in the well developed world.

According to 2011 Poverty Development Goals Report, Over a billion people currently live below the poverty line, earning less than 1 dollar a day.

And unfortunately I must point out, that all this are happening not in the age of famine and world war. But in an era of unprecedented plenty and potential in a world 10 times richer than it was 50 years ago.

Every year across the world, we lead a campaign, ‘Make Poverty History’, to fight against that. Governments changing their policies and make new promises every time. They may have truly worked hard on it but are those promises fully kept? Finally by the end of the year, poor people continue their lives still far from achieving those goals.

Most importantly, the ultimate question that needs to be addressed here - why are people poor and what is the bigger issue surrounding poverty?

Of course  we can mention several causes like Population, Unemployment, Illiteracy, Corruption, Low agriculture, War, Natural disasters, Price hike, Political factors, basically Economy etc. 

Courtesy - Google

We all accept in chorus that people want to be governed well. This is the basic and foremost essential thing needed by every people. They need to feel safe. They want the chance to earn a decent living. And they want to be treated fairly by the government and the officials. Whereas good governance is not just about the government. But also about how citizens, leaders and the public institutions relate to each other in order to make changes happen.

Obviously it is very convenient for us to blame the government but we always forget to remember that we form the government, and every single person among us can bring the change what the nation is looking for. So now the arrow turns to point on you and me - we are to be blamed. If you need a change around you, then you must start the change within you. The way we treat the people, our outlook on them and how we fixed in our mind that those are destined to be poor. People in poverty face challenges virtually unknown to those in middle class or wealth. The reality of being poor brings out a survival mentality, and turns attention away from opportunities taken for granted by everyone.

Look at this illustration - I picked this from Facebook, on how we are being ignorant.

Our personalities differ from each other. One cannot judge another based on their personality. In a community comprising people of varying financial status, a rich person may tend to feel superior over the other. With this kind of mentality, many people fail to see poverty from a humanitarian point of view. In fact, many will think that the problem of poverty is the doing of the poor people.

This very topic, forced me to re-examine my personality and character and how my personal beliefs influenced it. If poverty is the barrier that prevents individual prosperity and that of the community in general, then the responsibility is upon every able citizen to participate actively in eliminating it and making it possible for the less fortunate to live comfortably in the community.

Isn't it like we are making this mission a distant dream?  According to me, everyday choices matter a lot. We should know how to monitor our wealth, make use of our money, time and influence, to change the world – giving to charities, buying fairly traded products and goods made without child labor, taking part in local campaigns and events. All these small actions not only raise money for good causes but also help build commitment to change - a bigger change indeed.

Potential Solution

Economic growth is the single most powerful way of pulling people out of poverty. Tackling inequality helps poor people participate in economic growth and trade. We must ensure that today’s development successes do not become tomorrow’s environmental failures.

Poverty is about lack of opportunity, not about just lack of income. Economic growth creates more work openings thus brings higher incomes, which helps people save, invest and protect themselves when times are hard. Children can go to school rather than going to work. Education is both a right and a route out of poverty. So eventually child labor can be vanished. The higher the rate of literacy, the lower the rate of poverty.

Since Unemployment is interconnected with poverty, raising employment opportunities is of course a surefire solution.

Agriculture is key to improve the country's economy. Not alone enhancing agricultural production will be enough to solve the problem, but also wise marketing the agriculture products should be facilitated.

High population leads to poverty hence I believe, family planning is one of the important measures to battle poverty.

Poor health condition becomes a deterrent for the people to work hard and earn a satisfactory amount to sustain their day-to-day living. In order to get rid of this hindrance, there should be improved healthcare facilities.

Corruption hurts poor people more. For example, when health staff demands bribe for medicines or local officials for providing water connections, it keeps people stay poor. It damages the economic growth and is one of the biggest reasons for the poverty. Money stolen through corruption is enough to feed the world’s hunger 80 times over.

However steps we take to eliminate the poverty, it must reach the people correctly. Hence, a very important solution should be the awareness about the situation among poor people. They should be aware about the advantages of the poverty alleviation programs. But above everything, what we need is, helping tendency in people's heart to build a strong and self-dependent Incredible India.

Now what can we do?

To bring a change is the job for everyone, not just for the governments. NGOs will help deliver services. But eliminating poverty is not just about the people who work on development. Making progress in the fight against the poverty means harnessing the relationship. A measure to implement to mitigate their situation is, I think, we should help them set up a working environment or by joining a network that accommodates the low income earners. These groups use the economy to come up with a viable business which in time would start yielding financial rewards. Plus the advantage of such organizations is that they require very minimal capital yet they are rewarding in the long run. So if we don’t come forward to lend our hands, then we don’t have the right to blame it on politicians and their bureaucracy. And the best way to make a difference - to understand about these people's lives and how to turn seemingly impossible problems into manageable tasks – is to get involved.


One such NGO is Rangde, based in Bengaluru, which tries to help people come out of their poorness by providing facilities to do small scale businesses, since 2006It is a micro lending service to empower the people. Their vision is to make poverty history in India by reaching out to under-served communities through micro-credit. They are doing through a network of committed social investors and offer micro-credit that will have a positive impact on business, education, health and environment of the communities.  Rang De is a non-profit platform that helps us to lend  Rs.100 or more to an entrepreneur from a low income household and it is indeed very much committed to build a self-reliant India. A very appreciable and must mention act. Do check for more in their website. Rangde.

We are as much need the social change as we are to do with technology and as much about investing time as we are about investing money. A saying in tamil goes, 'Siru thuli peru vellam' - Tiny droplets together makes a big flood. when we join our hands and donate them together, certainly it will promote their lifestyle by creating a self-reliant system that empowers their living and brings them up in the society. In our developing world, we may be spending a lot on so many things to maintain our pride and status. But I believe still it is very affordable that we can donate 100 Rs to this cause and lit a light in someone's life.

Indiblogger has come up with an initiative called Indichange. Lets make a new beginning. Let make a change.
IndiChange - Harnessing the collective power of blogging to fight evil.

By helping someone, we always share the colors of joy. And of course, where there is a will, there is always a way. So let us come forward to join together and lend our hands to Make Poverty History.

This post is written in the interest of seeing the world with no poverty. Thanks to ISB iDiya and Indiblogger - Indichange for giving me a great opportunity to blog about my passion to help people in one way or the other. I'd be really glad if at least one of you read this and get ready to help, that's where this article's real purpose lies.


  1. It is very unfortunate though... I have no words.. but yes, as a society we can be the change and contribute towards it.

  2. a great issue you picked. It has affected millions and even affecting still many. We should join our hands together to eradicate it once and for all. Great initiative. :)

  3. poverty is an issue as big as any other problem and only literacy can help . It goes parallel with other troubles ......and all of them are co-related ! I do not which one is the mother of all problems yet the father of all solutions is literacy !If one is literate , he /she will have more options of work and better opportunities . All the more, he/she can carve his/her own new ways out !! grr8 post !! hope readers do their bit to work things out against poverty !! No govt and no NGO ...i do my bit on my own ...hope others too!!

  4. Nice....u hav put so much effort here....that's really commendable....god bless

  5. Be the Change u wana see in the world :)

    1. I am trying to.. and Inshaallah, I will be. Thanks for your feedback :-)

  6. A very inspiring Post! Poverty is the main cause of many social problems today.
    'Literacy' is the only way out! If today we help educate them, tomorrow at least their children will live a better life.

  7. Very pertinent and well researched post ! Knew about Rangde, but your post gave a fresh recall. Will check out their site and put in some money there.

  8. The illustration is so true. We can only shout out loud in virtual world but when it comes to action, we just slam the door. The other definition of poverty is even harsher. I hope we can work on those solutions and I seriously applaud organisations like RangDe.

  9. You've picked up some important issues, rat..well done! Hope we can work together to tackle these social issues--truly inspiring!!

  10. Late last year, two young men decided to live a month of their lives on the income of an average poor Indian. One of them, Tushar, the son of a police officer in Haryana, studied at the University of Pennsylvania and worked for three years as an investment banker in the US and Singapore. The other, Matt, migrated as a teenager to the States with his parents, and studied in MIT. Both decided at different points to return to India, joined the UID Project in Bengaluru, came to share a flat, and became close friends.

    The idea suddenly struck them one day. Both had returned to India in the vague hope that they could be of use to their country. But they knew the people of this land so little. Tushar suggested one evening — “Let us try to understand an ‘average Indian', by living on an ‘average income'.” His friend Matt was immediately captured by the idea. They began a journey which would change them forever.

    To begin with, what was the average income of an Indian? They calculated that India's Mean National Income was Rs. 4,500 a month, or Rs. 150 a day. Globally people spend about a third of their incomes on rent. Excluding rent, they decided to spend Rs. 100 each a day. They realised that this did not make them poor, only average. Seventy-five per cent Indians live on less than this average.

    The young men moved into the tiny apartment of their domestic help, much to her bemusement. What changed for them was that they spent a large part of their day planning and organising their food. Eating out was out of the question; even dhabas were too expensive. Milk and yoghurt were expensive and therefore used sparingly, meat was out of bounds, as were processed food like bread. No ghee or butter, only a little refined oil. Both are passionate cooks with healthy appetites. They found soy nuggets a wonder food — affordable and high on proteins, and worked on many recipes. Parle G biscuits again were cheap: 25 paise for 27 calories! They innovated a dessert of fried banana on biscuits. It was their treat each day.

  11. Living on Rs.100 made the circle of their life much smaller. They found that they could not afford to travel by bus more than five km in a day. If they needed to go further, they could only walk. They could afford electricity only five or six hours a day, therefore sparingly used lights and fans. They needed also to charge their mobiles and computers. One Lifebuoy soap cut into two. They passed by shops, gazing at things they could not buy. They could not afford the movies, and hoped they would not fall ill.

    However, the bigger challenge remained. Could they live on Rs. 32, the official poverty line, which had become controversial after India's Planning Commission informed the Supreme Court that this was the poverty line for cities (for villages it was even lower, at Rs. 26 per person per day)?
    For this, they decided to go to Matt's ancestral village Karucachal in Kerala, and live on Rs. 26. They ate parboiled rice, a tuber and banana and drank black tea: a balanced diet was impossible on the Rs. 18 a day which their briefly adopted ‘poverty' permitted. They found themselves thinking of food the whole day. They walked long distances, and saved money even on soap to wash their clothes. They could not afford communication, by mobile and internet. It would have been a disaster if they fell ill. For the two 26-year-olds, the experience of ‘official poverty' was harrowing.

    Yet, when their experiment ended with Deepavali, they wrote to their friends: “Wish we could tell you that we are happy to have our ‘normal' lives back. Wish we could say that our sumptuous celebratory feast two nights ago was as satisfying as we had been hoping for throughout our experiment. It probably was one of the best meals we've ever had, packed with massive amounts of love from our hosts. However, each bite was a sad reminder of the harsh reality that there are 400 million people in our country for whom such a meal will remain a dream for quite some time. That we can move on to our comfortable life, but they remain in the battlefield of survival — a life of tough choices and tall constraints. A life where freedom means little and hunger is plenty...
    It disturbs us to spend money on most of the things that we now consider excesses. Do we really need that hair product or that branded cologne? Is dining out at expensive restaurants necessary for a happy weekend? At a larger level, do we deserve all the riches we have around us? Is it just plain luck that we were born into circumstances that allowed us to build a life of comfort? What makes the other half any less deserving of many of these material possessions, (which many of us consider essential) or, more importantly, tools for self-development (education) or self-preservation (healthcare)?

    We don't know the answers to these questions. But we do know the feeling of guilt that is with us now. Guilt that is compounded by the love and generosity we got from people who live on the other side, despite their tough lives. We may have treated them as strangers all our lives, but they surely didn't treat us as that way...”

    So what did these two friends learn from their brief encounter with poverty? That hunger can make you angry. That a food law which guarantees adequate nutrition to all is essential. That poverty does not allow you to realise even modest dreams. And above all — in Matt's words — that empathy is essential for democracy.

    1. very true Titli.. this was a absolute and true image of any below average life person.. . Empathy is essential for democracy. cos once we empathize we know how ignorant we are all these while with our blessed life. and that will let us have a heart to help towards and bring about the change we really need as a common people. you said it brilliant with Matt and Tushar's experiment. Thank you so much for this valuable life altering piece of writing..

  12. Thanks for sharing with us that awesome article you have amazing blog.....


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