One of the Reasons why I won’t join an NGO..


Disclaimer: Whatever written in this post, is just my perception. Its not written with contempt against any people or any NGOs whatsoever. Its just how i think, and it should be taken with a pinch of salt.

I’ve nothing against social work. Even though i define my self as an individual, driven by my selfishness, i still hold no contempt against NGOs and what they do. Even i admire a few NGOs that do real good work, like Redcorss. But a few others look like they’re actually doing bad to the society. And thats why I’ve always been skeptical about joining an NGO as a volunteer.

Recently I was proved right at my decision once more. An NGO which is connected to a few members in the photography club that i’m a part of, undertook a really silly activity in the name of charity and social work. They temporarily gave cameras to slum children, saying they wanted to teach them photography. May be they had a real good reason behind why they thought THAT was what those children needed! All i can think of is, the people who came up with this idea, were just having fun trying to act a superpower god figure. What they wanted to give was a moment of happiness. But what they did not understand was that, they were giving those children an impossible desire, which would then be a corrosive grief. The desire to have confort of cultivating an expensive hobby as PHOTOGRAPHY. I mean, really, do those children need that more than they need education, food, or work to earn money?

What makes me think right now is some poor kid’s mental dillema that i could hear in my head, so clearly, like he was shouting in my ears. After having touched that camera, having seen the miracle of capturing a moment in an 50 grand priced DSLR, when the camera was taken away from him, his happiness was replaced by thousand times more misery. He would then sit in a corner, and hate his life, hate his fate, for not having those comfort those guys had, who had the camera. He would remember the last time when he felt similarly sad, that was when some lady took him in her car for a drive. A big AC car that he had seen only in ads in those torn newspapers that he used, to cover himself while sleeping due to the lack of blankets. THAT car was now around him, in fact he was sitting inside. He was happy, never happier. But when the lady was gone, he was back to his life where he didn’t even have a bicycle to call his own. It was not his fault that he was born poor, but then he started to think may be it was. May be everything/everyone, even God was against him, that he didn’t have the luxury that lady had.

What he failed to realise was that the lady EARNed that luxury her self, the lady wasn’t born rich. But he was miserable, ignorant of that reality in life, that things aren’t always handed down, given to us, But we have to earn them. His childish mind was in utter torment, with the question “wHY?”.

The happiness of sitting inside an AC car, was gone, right then and there.

I’d not do that to a kid. That sadness is not worth the moment of happiness.
I’d not join a NGO which does this to a kid.

Better i’d teach some kids some sort of small level art, that could earn him some money, some food. And then see the happiness on his face that he EARNED it himself. That is much better in a long run then to just those singular moment of happiness.

8 thoughts on “One of the Reasons why I won’t join an NGO..

  1. Mithun

    I totally agree with each and every word u have said. These people shud really ask them what they want instead of doing stupid things. Ask these under previledged poeple what they want. Let them do some research first before arriving at stupid ideas. I certainly believe that this will make them hate themselves for being poor and not getting all the pleasures enjoyed by people blessed with money. It happens with us normal people when we see that our colleagues and friends have something we cant afford and so imagine what plight these people must be under. …but one thing Ekta…after reading ur so called perception ( its the truth not a mere perception )..i think u can join and NGO and make these people realise something which they dont. What say ? Reason enought to join ?

  2. In appreciation of your question

    I think you should watch “Born into Brothels’ a 2003 movie, available now in DVD. For two reasons 1) because you love photography and 2) because you are sensitive to a child’s viewpoint. This movie will answer the genuine questions about the role of photography in development activism.
    In brief, this movie is taken in Kolkata, to study the life of the children there, by giving cameras to the children, to get the real perspective from their own point of views. Excellant movie for anybody who loves photography and/or development activism. You never imagined this is possible. It is worth knowing.

  3. shubham

    Any sensible person would realise thst it is not an appropriate method to know & understand a child’s perspective just by studying the snaps he takes. Its obvious that no child would treat a camera more than a mere toy……… I agree with Ekta and beleive that the effort of the said NGO (bunch of perverts?) was nothing more than a innovative way to chill out !!

  4. Urvashi Ahuja

    I too wonder why Ngo..are they good money making whatever they get as charity from sponsors..most of it goes in the Ngo people’s pockets only rather than the really needed..We think twice helping our maids or why such a social rich showoff! I agree Ekta.Just another sad eyewash and to keep up in the limelight as a social active figure.Ofcourse sparingly a v few who are good but God knows how good!!

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