In 1991, while visiting Bodnath, in Nepal, I came across a street kid, whom I decided to sponsor. I put him in a Nepalese private boarding school. Six months later, I went back to Nepal to make sure that he was doing well. I came across a second street kid, and then a third one, and I put them in a private boarding school in Nepal.
In 1996, “Solidarité Enfance Asie” (SEA) was set up as a non-profit association under the French law of 1901. And since then, we have sponsored several dozen destitute children. I wanted the best for these children who had suffered so much. I wanted to give them all the opportunities that fate had so cruelly denied them. I wanted to bring my contribution – however tiny – to the building of a better, more just and humane world.
At the time, I had a choice: should I give a lot to a few destitute kids, or opt instead to help a larger group of children while offering them fewer opportunities, knowing that limited financial resources are a rapidly binding constraint? I opted to offer to a few what my parents had given me, that is, the best one can offer to a child. True, that was at the expense of other equally deserving children, but I had this idea that these children who had suffered so much would become particularly empathetic to the suffering of others and would want to help, in turn, when they would be in a capacity to do so. That these children would naturally want to give back to society the prosperity that good fortune had thrown upon them. I had this dream that, while giving the best opportunities to a few children, I would create a chain of solidarity, which would be so much more effective than me, alone, in getting a maximum of children out of abject poverty.
25 years later, after having sponsored, thanks to SEA, scores of children for 10, 15, 20 years, till Bachelor or Master degrees (Bac + 4 or 6 years) for those who succeeded at school, I had to turn to our seniors to ask for help and support. Indeed, the fact is that we need help. The situation in France has changed drastically compared to what it was 25 years ago. Economic conditions have, in recent years, substantially deteriorated; joblessness has reached what looks like a permanently high plateau; homeless people are everywhere, a situation which the refugee crisis has only made worse. Solicitations of donations rain down from all sides: cancer, alzheimer, mucoviscidose, animal abuses, Syrian refugees, homeless people, wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, etc.), etc. etc. And Nepal is far from the concerns of the French. As a consequence, donations from the French are becoming increasingly scarce.
Running out of money, SEA is no more able to continue to finance bachelors in engineering, pharmacy, travel and tourism, business management, and so forth, to all of its students. Facts being stubborn things, SEA has consequently been led to revise the policy that it has followed over the past twenty years. As per the new general policy thrust of SEA, students will be able to continue their studies beyond the School Leaving Certificate (SLC), at the end of grade 10, if, and only if, they have a sponsor willing to finance the bulk of the costs of their higher education. So, as indicated in your last annual report, MANOJ and SUMAN, having no sponsors, have consequently seen their sponsorships discontinued in March when they finished grade 10.
And now, the breaking news!!…. RAJINDRA who has just found a great job in Bangalore (more on this later….) has decided to allocate a certain percentage of his salary to enable MANOJ to continue his studies. So, SEA will be able to resume MANOJ’s sponsorship…. Thanks to RAJINDRA, MANOJ can now look ahead to a more promising future – A GIFT OF HUMAN GENEROSITY.
RAJINDRA, after SHREE, who has, over the past three years, been a very generous donator to SEA, is adding another link to the chain of solidarity with destitute children of NEPAL.
I had this dream…