4 down, two 2 go.
Spending a month in India has not been akin to spending a month anywhere else. It goes by…really fast. I have come to the realization that I came to India at an impeccable time in relation to the progresses the rickshaw pulling sector in Bihar has been taking. About a week ago, the Chief minister of Bihar announced that the state government is going to launch a Rickshaw Puller cooperative sheme that is going to affect at least 7.5 million people statewide. The considerable success of organizations such as Sammaan and others working with the rickshaw pulling sector have proved that there are viable solutions to be applied to the current condition that Bihar’s 1.5 million rickshaw pullers and 6 million dependents persist in.
Not only has the government adopted this innovative shceme but they plan to get it up and running in time for an official launch on Muhatma Ghandi’s birthday on October 2nd. With this being said, Sammaan has gotten straight to work having been given the duty of helping develop a comprehensive draft proposal for the cooperative scheme and an additional presentation for a meeting soon with the Chief minister of Bihar this coming week. This week has been quite hectic as I’ve been given the privilege to help out with the proposal and more especially with the powerpoint presentation that will have to look attractive and engaging for the Chief minister. It has been an awesome learning experience participating in such a potenitally massive step for the state. This current project has allowed me to see how dedicated the Sammaan staff are to their work for the sake of the rickshaw pullers. In spite of this, I would’ve preferred to have had more time spent to continue with data collection from the rickshaw pullers. Accessing the rickshaw pullers has been quite a difficult since they are also hard at work during the day as they are all around town making a living. As much as I would hate to interrupt their schedule, this week will be spent trying to get into contact with as many of them as possible to get direct testimonials and information regarding the strides they have been making with the new resources, opportunities and services they have access to through the Sammaan program. So this next week should fly by quickly once again with lots to do. I plan to complete my data collection and spend the next 2 weeks moulding my investigation to suit the resources that I will have the most access to with the short time I have left.
Today, a member from the church I've been attending here in Patna invited me for his son's birthday get-together. Here is a photo with some of the kids present at the party. The hospitality was sheer brilliance, a really heart-warming (and stomach-filling) experience.