Next time somebody in the UK asks you why ‘we’ should be ‘giving aid’ to India, consider inviting them to explain exactly how they think India’s burgeoning wealth, currently concentrated in the hands of very few people, will come to affect the lives of the poorest people – and how long it will take.
The answer you receive might be along the lines that ‘government’ should ‘do something’ – the kind of top-down approach that treats the poor as a passive, problematic mass and places all responsibility for tackling the problem with the state.
At Wells for India, we take a very different approach. We see the villagers we support as people full of aspirations and potential, unrealised through no fault of their own. We know that, with the right support, they are capable of solving their own problems. We also know that people are less able to claim their fair share of their nation’s wealth if they have not
received an education, their lives are blighted by poor health, securing enough food and water is a daily struggle, and they have limited experience of organising collectively.
Our projects address these constraints in effective, sustainable ways. We believe that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like our local partners have a crucial role to play in a country where growing income inequality is now second only to South Africa’s. Our work, in close partnership with local NGOs and with the village communities they serve, supporting them to the point where they can further their own development, remains as relevant as ever.