Sunday, September 20, 2009

First Day in the Office.

I’m sitting in the CRWRC office editing an annual report for one of its child survival programs in India. First of all, let me say that the number of acronyms in this report is incredible…welcome to the world of NGO lingo. While editing is not the most exciting job, it’s fascinating to read through this report. Yes, it’s full of data and targets and action steps, but every one of these numbers represents a child who was immunized or a mother who has received prenatal care. It matters.

It matters to me because I remember working with children in an orphanage in Kolkata who would be lame for the rest of their lives because of polio, a preventable disease. But they hadn’t received the immunization. And their lives would be impacted by it forever. It matters to me because I can’t even count the number of women with sick babies on their hip who were tapping on the window of my car today and holding their hands out for money. Each number represents a woman who was given some training on how to treat dysentery or prevent malaria.

I’m not saying I believe programs are the solution to poverty, often the problems we see are symptoms of greater injustice and larger issues. In fact, the report I’m editing often cites the lack of supplies available in the clinics and programs. But, it’s something.

It matters.

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