Wednesday, June 3, 2009
As Andy described in his post, today we visited Charan Ghat which is home to numerous
displaced families primarily from Rajasthan and Maharashtra. The conditions we witness are difficult to describe in the sense that any description I could render would not do it justice. The work Tong-Len does quite literally saves lives and provides hope for these people. For example, Guru-ji, the founder of Tong-Len has worked for four years trying to establish a reliable water source for the people of Charan Ghat. In those four years he has traveled to Delhi, navigated bureaucracy, and paid bribes to get one pump to be supplied with water for one hour a day. Did I mention that the sole water pump serves the entire Charan Ghat community, which is comprised of over 700 people? Adding to the absurdity of the situation is that the people of Charan Ghat are essentially disenfranchised due to their status as citizens of other states and therefore the local government has little political incentive to provide such basic needs. In light of these hurdles the people of Charan Ghat can find glimmers of hope in the services Tong-Len provides. I spoke to a father from Rajasthan who described himself as a lucky man because his nine-year-old daughter, Pinkie, is able to attend Tong-Len's youth hostel. Such a strark admission regarding accessiblity to education, something that seems so universal back home, has since left me speechless.
Thanks to Brittany for the picture.
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