Henry's Enlightenment travel blog


While visiting India, our first stop as a class was in the city of Calcutta to observe children being raised in a brothel, a very hostile and inappropriate environment for young children to grow up. This however shocking and terrible, was still just their way of life, and what seems so strange to myself is not quite so bad to them. But they do recognize that their lives could be better through education. The documentary we watched cataloged the fight to earn these children a proper education with hopes to help them contribute more fully to society, but in the end the efforts made did not stick with all of the kids that they were intended to benefit. Its sad to see how opportunities are lost because of traditions in trade. Parents not allowing their children to explore the world because they are afraid of what is unknown, and are unwilling to sacrifice the completion of everyday chores by their children so that maybe more positive roles in society could be filled. The poverty involved in the situation is perpetuated not by lac of complete opportunity but instead by fear in a sense. Equally sad is what the kids who were taken out of their boarding schools are destined to do by continuing to live in the brothel. The fact that their mothers expect them to become prostitutes like it is a normal profession is horrific, at least through the eyes of a westerner. It is extremely hard to imagine a parent wanting their child to work in such a field. The film made the danger of living in such an environment so real and apparent, that I could never see wanting to keep my children in an environment where peoples lives are at risk due to money or drugs.

One cause of poverty In India as described by the article "Picking up trash by hand and yearning for dignity" was that the job needs to be done, but the pay is not sufficient enough to allow those doing it to earn enough money to move higher up in class than just garbage collector. As the city of delhi grows in wealth, more trash is produced and collectors are not given a good enough reason to stop collecting garbage despite the poor conditions. In the article "A tale of two India's", the cause of poverty is described also as a gap in class, both as part of religious gap and in terms of money. White collar jobs are not as easy to obtain for members of a lower caste. Another cause of poverty within the last century is easily a result of overpopulation. More and more people pour into the now industrialized and growing cities but there is less and less room. This contributes to the growing population of "Street Children" and their combined poverty.

A few suggestions to aid in these causes of poverty include higher, more appropriate wages for the garbage collectors so that their jobs are more stable, also since India's independence, and then political reform, new jobs are cropping up allowing people to take on better jobs, with more pay, whether its for American companies or just developing with the nation. Other efforts to end the aforementioned poverty include programs to keep street children off the street and give them a purpose to contribute more to society than the culture of drugs and lawlessness. These means of ending poverty are a step in the right direction because they include more and more members of society in positions where they can earn higher wages and improve the average standard of living in the country.



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