A refreshing read that really made my day and gave body to some thoughts that were floating in my mind but needed a real example.
In short: There were three people who were trained by an NGO in Rajasthan in puppetry and puppet-making. NGO cut back operations and these people were left in the lurch. Here is where the story departs from the norm. These three, overcoming their inital disappointment and apprehensions, used what they learnt from the NGO as a foundation to make a wider range of things and are now doing much better. They are very thankful to their NGO for whatever they did for them.
My take on this:
There has been a lot of talk on sustainability of social development activities. A lot of papers have been written and a lot of talk has been happening on this. In this case the normal reaction of the three people would have been to be disillusioned by the turn of events and blame the NGO. Rather in case things turned otherwise, another white paper would have been written on how it was important to have sustainability plan in place for the NGO.
Well, the plan is still required but maybe when formulating we need to study the center of our plan more. The actual people. Somehow are we still not able to get rid of the benefactor-beneficiary mentality. Are we still handling our target audience with kid gloves? Are we not treating them at par with others even after the intervention? Are we subsidizing them in guise of encouraging them?
I think, when it comes to social entrepreneurial ventures, we need to remove the "social" and treat them just like other ventures, at least when it comes to asking the hard questions. Thoughts?