India has always been the center of my interest. Well, if not always then, definitely since the time I had started to explore in larger depth what I would like to do and where I would like to do this.
At 24, I had started to flirt with the idea of social work. The idea of helping people, who may be in any way less fortunate then I was; to people who were pushed aside and boxed as difficult, to vulnerable communities, or simply to people in temporary need. I lived in New York at that very time and therefore the opportunities to come across with numerous social issues,as well as solutions in form of social change, were plentiful.
News I read were bringing the information about children from ghettos and enormous difficulties they had been coming across, about how immigrant communities were lacking resources, and how certain groups were more troublesome then others.If one looked closer, the poverty in NYC was somehow visible. The definition of this has been in major proportion inter-woven with discrimination, and therefore had created circles of social disparities that were only very difficult to escape: there was a feeble notion when neighborhoods and race pre-positioned the individual journey.
But I needed the comparison to what I saw in otherwise comfortable environment. I decided to travel and explore and get to know people beyond what I had already known. My first big trip was the one to India in 2004. And there it was; life in it’s rawest and the most naked form. India’s unrefined and vital surrounding was shocking, but strangely familiar at the very same time. And so I stared to digest: explore, see and study. I was eager to know what is happening within those unimaginable masses of people. Who are those masses, how do they live their lives, what are the forces that drive them ?
My mind was set and shortly after I returned home I started to search for humanitarian and development projects in Asia. My first professional experience led me to South-East Asia. I had been coordinating large international mission set up to rehabilitate national health and medical services for people affected by HIV. When my mission ended I returned to the university and now I am pursuing the diploma in Migration and Ethnic Relations at the faculty of Culture and Society in Malmö. As a part of my final thesis I have had this remarkable opportunity to conduct the research together with Bal Utsav organization. The ethnographic research is community- oriented and is targeting Bal Utsav program beneficiaries. The study examines the social structures, relations, networks, and behaviors of vulnerable groups, such labor migrants and remote tribal population, in order to improve and create educational services for them and their children.
We all struggle more or less through out our lives. But there are struggles that are simply unbearable for human being. It is not normal to sleep on the street, it is the very last resort to beg for money or have no access to health care, it is unthinkable to let children do the work of adults, instead of going to school or play.
We all have the responsibility to pause and let the feelings navigate our natural sense of compassion. And then try to act upon it according to our abilities.
There is so much resources within us to change the situation of fragile and vulnerable lives of fellow beings around us.
A research student in Migration and Ethnic Relations at the University of Malmao, Karina has been working with Bal Utsav and its outreach and intervention programs in education, in Bangalore. An ardent traveler and supporter of humanitarian and development projects worldwide that clearly focus on education as the primary tool in alleviation of living standards across the planet, she has been actively working with Bal Utsav on its multi-pronged initiatives based on education, and an enthusiastic part of the Bal Utsav team for the TCS World 10K Marathon Bangalore 2014 on Sunday, May 18th, 2014.