Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069

5th January 2011

Susannah Morcowitz: Initial report

Home | Footprinter Reports | Susannah Morcowitz: Initial report

In just a couple of days I will be flying direct into Southern India. I will be spending the year in Bangalore volunteering with the Association of People with Disabilities (APD). The APD works with children, young people and adults with a range of different needs. They run a huge variety of projects and have developed several programmes for various disabilities categorised intotherapeutic services, training and employment and education and advocacy (see if you would like to know more about the range of projects that they run).

The name Bangalore means Town of the Boiled Beans, named after a long-lost king who was served boiled beans by an old village woman. The king was very grateful and named the small area Benda Kaluru which literally means Town of Boiled Beans. But it is not because I love beans that I am going to Bangalore!

Almost everyone with whom I have spoken has asked me; Why are you going to India? Why dont you spend the year in America or Australia, why do you have to go there? Living abroad has always appealed to me. I wanted the opportunity to embed myself within a vibrant and extremely interesting culture, one where I would have the opportunity to learn a great deal about a culture and society that is very different to the one in which I grew up in. By spending a year in Bangalore India, with hopefully the opportunity to travel further afield, I hope to have that opportunity.

After five years of working and volunteering with people with disabilities in the UK, disability rights and inclusive development issues have become very important to me. The World Bank estimates that 20% of the worlds poorest people are disabled and the links between poverty and disability are well known. Whilst some of the statistical information about disability and poverty is not always accurate, it is essential that in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (there are 10 goals, including the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, improving education and access and improving maternal health care. These were adopted by the UN general assembly in 2000 to be achieved by 2015) and reduce poverty worldwide, development must be inclusive of people with disabilities.

The opportunity to volunteer with the APD will expose me to both the problems faced by people with disabilities in a developing world, but also, what one can learn from cross cultural comparisons of how people with disabilities have successfully (or unsuccessfully) been integrated into society.

Whilst I will attempt to remain realistic about what I will be able to achieve in my year abroad, I shall always keep in my mind the words of the American Anthropologist Margaret Mead: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

© Hazel's Footprints Trust 2024 | Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069
Web design by Creatomatic
This site uses cookies.
ConfigureHide Options
Read our privacy policy

This site uses cookies for marketing, personalisation, and analysis purposes. You can opt out of this at any time or view our full privacy policy for more information.