“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”WINSTON CHURCHILL
The term ‘Non-governmental organization’ or ‘NGO,’ was first coined in Article 71 in the Charter of the newly formed United Nations in 1945. NGOs are generally defined as nonprofit entities, built on a strong foundation of common citizens of the community helping each other and contributing to social welfare in general. International NGOs actually date back to even centuries earlier and have played a significant role in various social movements such as the anti-slavery movements in different countries.
There are an estimated 10 million NGOs worldwide. India has possibly the largest number of those, at 3.3 million as of 2009. That is one NGO for less than 400 Indians, which is many times the number of primary schools and primary health centers that are available in the country.
In India’s history, as in the history of the world at large, we can clearly see the immense contribution that NGOs have made to the upliftment of weaker segments of society, providing medical and education facilities in remote places, eradicating poverty etc.
Know Your Privilege
Even today, there are many who are living an underprivileged life. If you are actually reading this article, it means that you have had a higher than average level of education, and a good mobile or laptop with an active internet connection. But, close to 50% of students in India depend on free education, subsidized textbooks and stationery.
More than 50% of Indian students in rural and urban areas don’t have access to the internet. It is very important for us who are reading this to acknowledge our privilege in the first place. Once we recognize this, we can finally get out of our comfort zones and think about those who are less privileged than us.
Blessed to Be a Blessing
Each individual is uniquely gifted with talents, skills, and strengths that can potentially be channelized in numerous directions. As we have already acknowledged, most of us are also blessed with a certain amount of material resources. It just takes determination to step out and give our best for our fellow-beings who are in need. We are social beings, intricately designed not just to share our glorious moments, but also to carry each other’s burdens and to make this earth a better place for all. In the Bible, God says ‘I will bless you, so that you will be a blessing.’
Let us be willing to commit the blessings we have in our lives to, in turn, bless the poor and marginalized people around us.
There are several NGOs and civil society initiatives that are operative in your city or probably even in your own locality, working in different fields. On this ‘World NGO Day,’ make a resolution to look for opportunities to get connected with one of these initiatives functioning near you, where you could uniquely contribute, according to your interest or passion, in serving your local community.
This is how you can become a channel of blessing to others, as God intends you to be.