After describing the experience of Ashram guests when they go to visit the homes of our school children, yesterday, someone asked us: how can you stand seeing this poverty all the time? This is actually a question that many travelers to India ask us. You may be surprised – we actually do have an answer.
In India, you constantly have this obvious difference of rich and poor in front of your eyes. You have a huge temple, built by millions of dollars that a guru got from his followers and in front of it there are beggars in their rags, holding out their hands to you. You walk around Delhi, step out of a huge Emporium in which the cost of any item is no less than you would pay in New York or Paris and a child pulls at your sleeve: I am hungry, can you buy me some food?
Yes, you are reminded of poverty a lot. Of course, due to our work with our children, we see it all the time and we face problems that no school with paying students has to face. We get to know about the difficulties they have in their lives and yes, of course we feel with them.
First of all I would like to remind you that this poverty is always there, no matter where on this planet you are. It doesn’t matter whether you are sitting in a posh restaurant in London in this moment or distributing water in a refugee camp in Central Africa – on this world, there are children who are starving, others who cannot go to school and again others who lack any kind of medical help. So it doesn’t make poverty worse if you come to India – you are just reminded of it and more aware of it than you can be when you are sitting at home on your sofa!
The main thing is what you feel about it and if you are touched when you are here, if you have the urge to help while you see it, please keep this feeling alive while you are at home, too! This is the needed emotion for the whole world to get together and help those who are in need.
And that’s the answer to this question: we do our best to help.
It doesn’t matter how small your effort is to help but when you see something and you feel bad about it, make an effort to help, to change, to tell others about it. I know that our school is just a small one, when looking at the masses of poor children in India. It is just a little effort to educate and feed children, to give them a better future. If there are many schools like ours, though, it is a lot! You can help, too – by sponsoring a child or donating one day’s food for them for example!
Even if you cannot come here, even if you cannot help particularly these children and even if you are financially not at all in the situation to donate – help someone around you who needs it. Sometimes just a smile, a helping hand and a good word is worth more than you may think!
When the bad on this world is about to overwhelm you, think of this: whatever you do, however small an effort it is, it does make a difference!