Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What comes first - value creating Individual or value creating society

Last couple of months I have been spending time with students in the rural setting, our slum centers, and also have visited locations of other NGOs and organizations operating in the rural areas.  I was carrying forward the question from my previous blog of what holds us back as a nation in creating value.

One such place was an NGO by the name of Samuha in Karnataka.  They have partnered with Foundation for Life (another NGO of course).  They run an English, IT and Life Skills training for complete illiterates from the base of the pyramid and have them ready for BPO in 6-8 months!!! 

What was most interesting for me was that the trainees appeared to be all very responsbile, bright, driven, polite and at the same time not diffident at all.  It could be very clearly and obviously be linked to the environment and community they were being made to live with (I was meeting them after they had been there for over 6 months).  The whole community of trainers, facilitators, and management are very compassionate, driven, very responsible for their own actions.  An almost ideal micro-ecosystem if I may say so.

So then it seemed obvious that we are what we are because of how our society is, our education is -- probably also corroborated by the more observed phenomena of Indians becoming like Americans in the US. But then looking at this NGO setup in the midst of India and in a rural setting - I felt that someone has created the community too -- it is not like it has been there for ages.  Sunil Savara, the founder of Foundation for life - and the main person behind this community training experience, is from a corporate background like most of us.  But that one individual has managed to create a community that I believe is what most of us hope we could be living in - in India.  So then what created value first?  The Individual or the Society?