“How would you like your children to be when they grow up”, he asked.
“Like you”, she said.
The man asking the question was R Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee of Tata Trusts; the woman, a farmer whose income had increased tenfold to Rs 2 lakh annually through her work in the self help groups (SHGs). Although her family’s life had improved due food availability and more income, the quality of life on several counts had not changed: schools in her village were non-functional and healthcare non-existent. Her increased income therefore had not translated into better opportunities for her son.
Her statement–I want him to be like you–stayed with us. We were at PRADAN then and had been working with communities across India for over two decades. At that point, we asked ourselves: what will it take for the next generation of Indians, whoever they are and wherever they are, to have the same set of opportunities as the privileged urban-born?
Could we look beyond just providing jobs, training, and skills to a generation of men and women and instead focus on ensuring equal opportunities for their children at least?
It won’t happen on its own
|This photograph is under the Creative Commons License 2.0|
Individual ascension can happen–with some education and a great deal of luck. But how do you take development to the entire village? How do you build basic resilience, so that our future generations can aspire to and achieve better lives?
An excerpt of an article written by Anirban Ghose and Anish Kumar, and published on India Development Review