Last few weeks, I have been working with some of my colleagues on launching a venture in the rural tourism space. While we were discussing, debating, brainstorming on the nature of the venture along with our friends and associates, there were a lot of arguments that triggered the thoughts for this post. Most frequently asked question was “How are you going to help the villagers? Some thought we might end up exploiting them while others thought we are going to do something great to by helping the villagers come out of “assumed under privilege”.
Now here is my view on this. First of all I do not assume that people who live in villages are in anyway living a lesser life than those living in big cities. They both have their own advantage areas and pain points. Second I do not believe in charities and giving anything to anyone for no value delivered. Everyone must earn their own bread and butter. A lot of people who think they have lots of money, today want to do something for the under privileged, and how, by giving away checks to charities who spend a lot of money on their own marketing and PR.
All those who feel great after giving some part of their wealth to those who are under privileged in their eyes, have they ever thought of how does it feel to receive something as charity. Just close your eyes for sometime and try to imagine someone walking up to you in a jazzier car than you have, and looking at you in pity. He pities you for having a smaller car, a smaller house and lot of other small things. While you are completely comfortable with what you have, but this person pities you because he has more than you. How would you feel receiving some money from someone who looks down upon you and thinks great of himself by giving you some money?
I am sure most of us would not want to be in a situation where someone gives us money that we ideally do not deserve. And if we do not like it, I think we can safely assume that most other people would also not like it. Everyone has a right to lead a respectful life, and we must not take that away by assuming that they need our help. In my opinion, if you really feel like helping people, create some channels for mutual value creation, where both parties feel they are adding value and reaping benefits that they deserve. The right to live respectfully is the most fundamental right and must be respected.