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37438Re: Support a Social Worker

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  • karmayog
    May 1, 2008
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      I don't think that we as a society need to classify people or organisations as ngos or non-ngos. Once we slot people or organisations as ngos, we expect them to behave unnaturally (unsustainably). What we should aim for is-- sustainable work. There is a difference between greed and profit.

      Right now it is politically fashionable to say profit is greed. But profit becomes greed only when it is excessive/unsustainable/ against society and for the few instead of all. Some profit is always required for the vision to be carried forward and for lean times/reserves. Our business media specially tom toms (as the bards of old times did) unethical practices--only superficial short term, get rich success matters to the business media. On the other hand there is a complete contrast with the approach of the ngo media - -they tomtom or highlight the most unsustainable self sacrificing attitudes and work practices. There is no middle ground between these two media cultures. NObody says that the primary agenda of all people/organisations is to become self sustaining so that they can keep working and benefiting society in the future too.

      In old days and even now profit was called shubh labh. Now profit is equated as greed by the media or  ashubh labh.  Shubh labh means it is good for all.

      Ngos and public spirited people are expected by society to be self sacrificing ALL the time and NEVER THINK about the future. THIS IS PRACTICALLY NOT POSSIBLE except for a very few.(extremely rich philanthropists or those who are sadhus or those who are retired/retiring)

      What we need to do is to change the mindset of society towards sustainable work/sustainable occupation/organisation which is ethical and profitable (but not greedy at the cost of others. )Once greed enters the picture, the organisation becomes unethical, does not give value for money, does not render proper service, the public good is forgotten etc etc..

      There should be a difference between organisations doing good work for society (now improperly labelled as  ngos) and those who are doing SELFLESS WORK having own resources. The former should be called normal orgnaisations rendering service to society in lieu of resources taken from society/given to society --money, etc. The latter should be called selfless organisations. The labelling itself is incorrect technically--abbreviation NGO stands for NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATION -- all private organisations are therefore ngos. Since Govt has usurped functions of development instead of just govt/regulation, it has become a monster and needs to be trimmed drastically as no private organisation can ever compete with the resources available to a national or state or local entity. Private organisations thrive when competing against govt organisations by subverting the govt organisations since they can never compete directly. So it is better that govt organisations don't get into private enterprise in the first place except for a limited period of time for the purpose of social equitability.

      Everybody starts generally with a good motive, service or product for fulfilling some perceived need of society. They are altruistic in the beginning but since they have not thought about sustainability and have impractical notions of idealism and equate profit with greed, they have no futuristic plans for being sustainable. Once reality hits them and they see the exploitation or are themselves affected negatively (hurt) by it, they themselves turn away from their initail idealism and become an unethical business.

      Surekha and others need to call most ngos as normal businesses and not selfless organisations. These small organisations need training in financial management, human resource mgt, marketing and other administrative skills which they sorely lack. Plus they need to know the difference between greed and profit, deregistering themselves from govt classifications (trust/society/non profit company etc etc)
      they need to network to use the strengths of others in the same space as them. Only when they change their mindsets and do not allow society to shackle them as altruistic/self sacrificing people will they be able to provide ethical service or products to society and be happy and true to their original goals/aim/vision.

      OUR journalists need to start writing balanced stories--highlight the good and the bad in each organisation and not project success as they do  --to me success means being happy and creating happiness for others by fulfilling their needs. I expect to be rewarded accordingly at nobody's cost.

      Every journalist has to decide their own yardsticks and the whole media has to then collectively iron out the various yardsticks so that they arrive at some consensus.

      The problem mentioned in this email is solvable if every geographical area (like a village in olden times had a local knowledgebase, local leadership/headman/panchayat) builds and keeps a knowledgebase of who is who and who is doing good work --then supporting those who need help or who would need networking. We had a hierarchical system in the olden days-- people knew who was doing good/bad work in their localities and they used to support them as society itself was interdependent and the village/locality was self contained. Information used to flow  like wildfire and by word of mouth --sometimes when i compare it with this day and age, those times were certainly better and more neighbourly (sometimes nosy when taken to an extreme)

      There are some great ebooks on society in ancient India or even before the advent of the british who destroyed our systems and our cultures --dharamvira a historian by accident --was able to copy events and records from the british archives in London and compile them into a few volumes --those ebooks are now available  at multiversitylibrary.com


      On Thu, May 1, 2008 
      Dear Vinay
      This service is long overdue and kudos to Karmayog, it is launched now.
      I have a suggestion. Whenever I visit development organisations and see their volunteers/social workers working relentlessly, I wonder what could happen in times of their need. Not all have supportive family & freinds. I have seen following types.
      1) Social workers supported in kind by families and friends (their clothes, personal stuff comes through such donations.
      2) Social workers supported by an individual or group through regular monthly payments.
      3) Social workers paid not very well or bare minimum by the organisation they work for. They suffer when their children need money for education and later when they get old or sort of get into retirement.
      So how to launch services for various categories (there may more than listed above)? Can we recommend social workers whom we know and that they are in need? How to assess them? Or can Karmayog be a meeting place for donors and recepients?
      Surekha Sule
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