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- Corporate Social Responsibility: 4 Definite Things You Can Do
As I mentioned in earlier post, the one-time medical checkup camps made me more confused.
Then, I volunteered for the support system of a free hospital. It is a permanent setup. Not just hospital. There is free education too, for all round development of the surroundings.
I learnt couple of things at the free hospital and the third one with the authorities on education center:
Here they go.
1. Intentions again
I spoke about intentions being the justification earlier. I see the same thing again.
There was a volunteer who was too proud. “I do not mind begging for medicines for this cause. I collect lot of medicines from all over Bangalore and help this center.”
How nice ! How ego-less!
But the other staff at the hospital had different take.
“We normally do not take anything from what he brings. It has mixture of expired, exposed medicines along with good ones. The effort of manually sorting these out is not worth the effort. We told him several times. But he does not listen”
Intentions …. again, can give emotional high. Not necessarily would help on ground.
2. Thinking more about the problem takes us to deeper and wider problems…Somewhere we have to draw the line and focus.
The majority of prescriptions there I saw were for Cetirizine, Rantac and iron supplements. Certizine for skin problems and Rantac for stomach ulcers due to bad eating habits and malnutrition.
Skin problems – The region is full of granite mines with the revenue running to billions. The working conditions for the workers would not be great. Fighting for better work conditions and hence better health would be worth a cause. That will solve health issues at root. There is lot of work, enough to feed few NGOs for years. Attempting to solve this would put me on different orbit. But I fear – if I get there I may find next root cause in the chain.
Are we, with full time jobs ready for it? May be I should just stick to easier week-end service?
Malnutrition – And the iron and nutrition problem are rooted in changed food habits. The social changes made people switch to breads based on fiber-less ‘all purpose wheat flour’. The deficiencies can be taken care if the population go back just a century to its original food habits. i.e. eating local plants and animals. This area is just beside the forest and is very fertile. It would be affordable and sustainable. Just that, it is out of fashion. Educating them against ‘modern food’ industry and ways is a herculean task.
I guess, I should limit my service to just free hospital?
3. When it comes to education service, consistency is the key
After a decade, last week I went to the same free hospital center. This time, went to see the education related activities. As we know, education is a good cause across the world and volunteers help in teaching during their free time.
The authorities there were quite clear while setting expectations for volunteers –
“For the volunteers from software industry, I ask only two questions –
A. Can you be consistent in coming here to teach?
B. Are you willing to learn? When a boy asks about boiling the vegetable oil and how it behaves, can you learn and explain the science behind it?”
The message was loud and clear.
Connecting with students, knowing each others’ ways takes few weeks to months. And learning everyday to answer them, explaining in a way they can understand.. Quite a work.
I had taught in a high school 3-4 years back.
The way we all nicknamed the Sir and Maams.. they do too. It takes time to get used to be on the other side of the classroom ! And then the noises and pranks. It is not funny that they were funny
Sustaining it for meaningful period was among the hardest thing I had ever done.
Wrapping it up …
This is definitely not to make you cynic. But it may make you can be effective when you want to spend some time for community service.