Saturday, 18 October 2014

On meeting two young girls near Churchgate station, and their dreams

Last week, I was at Churchgate, outside a restaurant, where I met a young 14 year old girl, who was selling some goods, as a hawker.  I asked her, whether she went to school.  She said she did, but she sold these toys to make a living.  I asked her, what she wanted to be, when she grew up, and she said that she wanted to be a doctor.

Yesterday, I was there again, and say a young girl selling flowers.  I asked her, if she knew the young girl, who wanted to be a doctor, who also sold toys there, and she repeated to me, that she was that very girl.

I got lost in the 'debate' that you are not the girl I met last week.  That was someone else.  After I left, I realised, that although she may not have been that girl, she was like her, in the sense that she also had dreams, and dreams of becoming a doctor, and all she was doing, was trying to persuade me, that she wanted a future too.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

On listening to Joseph Stiglitz on Inequality

Last week, I was in Vienna, attending the convention organised by the EPCA European Petrochemical Association.  They had invited the Nobel prize winning professor Joseph Stiglitz, to deliver the keynote.

It was a wonderful talk.  He spoke about inequality, and borrowing from the title of his own book, 'the price of inequality'.  He mentioned that inequality was increasing, and that it was not just the the rich were getting richer, but that the poor were also getting poorer.  Dr. Raghuram Rajan also referred to similar issues in the lecture that he gave on our campus, on the occasion of the Foundation Day.

This was interesting, since it went contrary to the theory that the rising tide lifts everyone.  He said, that one of the solutions was to try and see that everyone gets an opportunity to do well.

I feel very proud, that part of the mission of Somaiya Vidyavihar, Somaiya Ayurvihar, the Girivanvasi Pragati Mandal and the Girivanvasi Education Trust, is to provide that opportunity. Whether in health or in education, or in creating livelihoods.

Our help a child program ( really works to find those who have promise, and ensure that the world does not lose them.  Similarly, we are trying to provide opportunity to so many children in our rural schools.

In a presentation by 2 Cambridge University authors on education in rural India, they reflected that girls did very poorly.  In our schools, our girls do so well, in school, in academics, in sports.  No matter what background they come from or their financial poverty. They are rich in spirit and in the will to succeed.

Our privilege to be of service.