Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Advocates of Change. For those interested.

It’s been a week since we held our last meeting with Manjul.

At this point, I feel very aware. I’ve been recollecting all that I studied about Development Economics and Sociology. I’ve been thinking of the play we saw together, current news and have been objectively thinking on a more macro level.
Facts: The budget, it’s ambitions, slum rehabilitation schemes, builders, government, 60 lakh slumdwellers in Mumbai Thane region, 287 million illiterate people in India and only 1 in 10 who go to school make it to college. A question often asked- as advocates of change, where do/should we begin?

Another question I faced almost everyday during the project- what difference do you think this would REALLY make in the long term? Is this practical?

The question rightfully supported by facts: It’s all just a cycle- born into a poor family, illiterate, married early, atleast 5 children, not enough money to support them all- boy sent to work instead of studying- girl married off at the first opportunity, barely get to college- have children at an early age without enough income to support…back to step 1. Then there are the peripheral factors like societal norms, beliefs, classes and institutions that govern.

However, these questions and facts only reaffirm the philosophy of Parivartan and our project. It starts with education, with empowerment. What my mother said is true (at the time talking about the muck they have to walk through everyday), that unless they start to think for themselves, their situation wouldn’t improve. To understand their right to a standard of living, they have to be empowered. There's always room to work.

To donate:

Advocates of Change:
Revive: Mumbai:
Experimental Theatre Foundation (Manjul Bhardwaj):


For many of us, this was the end, the end of a “project”, the end of a trip, the end of a summer. But for the other’s it was just the beginning, the beginning of hope, the beginning of a future, and the beginning of a desire -- The hope of being “Somebody” someday, the prospect of a future and the desire rekindled within each one to reach their goals.
If there is anything that I have learned from this experience, it is that knowledge is the one thing that must be shared. In today’s world man knows only one thing, how to get ahead in life. Well I’m not saying don’t all I’m saying is give a hand to the people who have either fallen along the way or never gotten a change to walk. Show them that there is a future awaiting them. Most importantly educate them on how to get there. Give them the most powerful tool that nobody in the world can take away from them.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Indian Express Article

Indian Express Article by Sukanya Shetty