This post is being submitted as an entry to The Idea Caravan Contest at Indiblogger in association with Franklin Templeton
Franklin Templeton Investments partnered with TEDx Gateway Mumbai in December 2012
No matter how I write this post, it is not going to do justice. Especially after watching this video which stirs up something in you & I am not really sure if a mild word like 'inspiration' justifies that feeling. The feeling is much beyond inspiration, it is a combination of Questioning+Feeling Shameful+Guilty+wanting to do something. So I am just going to divide this post into three points and try my best to convey what this video has stirred up in me.
I was about 10 or 11 I guess, my mother was recovering from a surgery and she had hired a help. This maid, on one particular day did not turn up. Mother asked me to go with our neighbour's daughter, who was about 20, to the maid's house and find out what happened. As we reached the colony (that is what we call the place where really poor people live), we saw there was water logged everywhere. Somehow we managed to reach the maid's house. The sight was really pathetic. Her children were perched on the bed which, if it was not for their collective weight would have floated in that water. Portion of a wall had fallen down, and all the kitchen items (it was only a single room hut) were kept above the shelves. Women and men were scooping out buckets of water and throwing it in the already filled up gutters. The maid, when she looked up at me, started crying and said, 'tell your mother I will not be able to come unless all this cleared'. We returned and I told my mother her plight. Mother got another maid and her household continued without any break. But for that poor maid her house was partially washed away by rains. This story dear readers, is the story of thousands and thousands of families who dwell in such huts and slums. House is supposed to be the most secured place for everyone, but unfortunately for these people it does not remain safe and secure always. Go to any state and you will find flourishing slum area, which gives birth to serious diseases & insecurity.
|Image Source: Google Search|
Obviously, the solution to the above problem seems to be building good houses for these people. But this is an easier said than done task. Why? you may ask. Well, for starters, have you looked up at the building material prices? They have sky rocketed. How can these people afford to even build any houses? NGOs and social organisations who want to help can also not find enough funds. So, the next step would be to reduce the prices of these housing materials but, currently looking at our economic situation I think we better leave this topic here itself. The next best thing would be to source recycled material or develop materials or ideas that are cost effective and, give these people a secured place to live. A house like yours and mine. Maybe not a 5 bedroom house (though I think that is not impossible either) but atleast a room which is strong enough to hold the roof. This is what in the video Mr. Christian Sarkar describes, a low cost housing model. If you watch the video, you will see that they don't have a $300 house yet, but the idea itself has created so much momentum that people from every sphere are trying to develop low cost housing and help the poorest of poor people who need proper housing.
|Image Source: greenbuildingelements.com|
How can you and me help, is the implementation part. Most of us believe in doing charity and sharing a percentage of our earnings with the poor and needy. No, I am not talking about throwing a 25 paise or 50 paise at a beggar, I am talking about people, who seriously decide to give a percentage of their salary towards good work. But many a times, even if people have the intentions they are hesitant to donate, because they are not sure if the money they are donating is going for a good cause. When you watch the video towards the end Mr. Sarkar speaks about how Mahindra & Mahindra took this up as a CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility program and implemented the low cost housing idea in places like Pondicherry and Bihar. What I am trying to tell you is, it is mandatory to have a CSR program in organisations today. If you know about your company CSR or you yourself are in that department, how about making it a part of your mission. Maybe, you can have CSR departments of 2 or 3 organisations join hands and make a joint effort towards this change. Mahindra is a very good example and you can use it as learning guide on how they did it. Maybe even invite their team over and let them give you a presentation. You are not doing it as an individual but as a Corporation, and we all know Corporations are powerful. As a part of this Corporation you would also have the power to change - Power To Make A Positive Change!!
|Image Source: Ghettoveritt.wordpress.com|
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