Employment is blessing from God Almighty and for
that we should all be thankful. These days in certain localities, many
people do not have a regular or even an irregular job. They include
people of all ages. Most of them may be illiterate while others may be
dropouts from schools. Some others may be even graduates or
technicians but are without a job.
Due to joint family system or support from
relatives or friends, some of them may not be in serious money
problems. However, a large number of them may be financially hard
pressed. A significant number of such people may be old women or
widows. They depend on odd jobs for their livelihood and possibly that
of other members of their family. Without an occasional odd job it is
hard for them to honourably survive for a few days or weeks.
Factors such as fast increasing population,
migration of people from the rural areas, right sizing in the public
and private sectors, ban on fresh recruitments, etc. are adding
despair to the already grave unemployment situation. This is
unsustainable on long-term basis. Something has to be done to provide
hope to such people.
The government is said to be taking steps for
employment generation and poverty alleviation. However, the things are
not improving. It appears the communities have to also supplement the
government' efforts and initiate remedial measures on priority basis.
Earning of money by doing some work-physical or
mental- is the key to empowering people and also for real development.
The jobless must learn to work to get paid. This would not hurt their
self-esteem and they should be proud of earning their livelihood.
People with God given financial means can provide occasional
employment to the jobless.
The employment can be in many forms and shapes.
Small repairs in the shops or houses of the resourceful people might
be pending for some time. Instead of postponing the repairs to a
future date, let it be undertaken now. It might provide employment to
one or two people for a few days. There may be other many such things
which could provide earning opportunities to the jobless men, women or
families for a short while. As the jobless would be from the same
community, the people providing the jobs might be more comfortable
with them. On overall basis, such measures would help the jobless earn
some money by providing services to the members of the community. They
would also gain useful experience.
Public services are mostly in poor shape in most
communities. It could be a small worn-out bridge over an open
sewerage; a broken footpath in front of a shop, office or the house; a
government or municipal school or dispensary in need of repair or
paint; a playground or public park in need of boundary wall; etc.
These and similar other repair works can be undertaken by the
philanthropists. They shall be doing something for the public good and
at the same time providing job opportunities to the jobless. As they
themselves would be spending their money they would be satisfied that
there has been no wastage or pilferage of their resources.
The city government authorities are expected to
appreciate the initiatives and would most likely give permission for
the carrying out the repairs. If handled tactfully, the city
governments might also contribute matching funds for the purpose. If
people find the cost of particular project is beyond the means of a
single person, they can pool resources and get the works completed in
consultation and coordination with the local government authorities.
They would be spending money on community welfare projects and
therefore in a way the whole community would benefit.
Poor people generally have large families. The head
of the family tries but sometimes fails to provide for all the members
of the family. Education is said to be free but he might not be able
to send all children to school. Young boys are often made
'apprentices' to the local electrician, the plumber, the tailor, the
motor mechanic, or other similar technical hands or masters. Work
hours are generally long and the masters are not always kind. The
youngsters lean the technical trade the hard way. In due course the
masters start paying small amounts to the youngsters as pocket money
or for meeting other expenses.
Generally transport cost is not involved and the
youngsters are fed at the shop with all others. In a way, all these
'apprentices' are considered better off with these technical shops. In
a few years' time most of them should 'graduate' as experts in their
respective technical area. Without such an 'opening', these youngsters
would be whiling away their time in the streets and probably become a
nuisance for the people.
The community leaders may help these 'apprentices'
through occasional meetings with the masters and exchanging views for
the working conditions and welfare of the 'apprentices'.
The government might also consider issuing
guidelines for the protection and welfare of these youngsters. Until
the time there are more technical schools for formal and free
education, this practice of taking 'apprentices' provides hope for
many children. This practice might not be confused with the child-labour
as here the children are learning on-the-job useful technical skills
for better future.
The rich in the community can also 'adopt' some of
the poor children and finance their education expenses for the
primary, middle or matriculation levels. This process can help the
children become better members of the community, who would most likely
be one day helping other children in similar circumstances.
Jobless ladies and young girls are in more
precarious situation as compared to the young boys. There are a few
government as well as private institutions that offer courses in
technical skills such as tailoring, embroidery, etc. but poor families
find it hard to cough up the course fee and the transport expenses.
There is need to set up more such institutions that are nearer to the
homes and charge only nominal fees. The rich can make this happen for
common good by establishing more institutes and/or financing the fees
payable by one or more women or girls for learning the skills. Once
the ladies and the young girls have learnt the skills they can work at
their homes and provide services to the small entrepreneurs or the
general public as the case may be. They would be adding value and thus
help the overall economy to become healthier. The entrepreneurs and
the middlemen must pay fair wages for the work performed by these
skilled ladies. Due to these skills, these ladies would be better off
as compared to house-hold help or maids with the families against
small monthly pay. Those ladies and girls who work as house maids also
deserve to be looked after and paid well.
The wholesalers and other shopkeepers can
participate in the community welfare programmes in another way. They
can sell on credit goods up to a specified value to the selected
educated persons who can act as small shopkeepers or traveling
salesmen. Fresh goods would be sold on credit if earlier dues are
cleared. For those who have the knack, it may offer opportunities of
some day becoming successful businessmen.
Communities progress more when the members learn to
unite and act in a self-less but coordinated fashion for the common
good. They stand better chances of success if they are ready to work
with people having different political views or religious beliefs.
People can, depending upon their respective circumstances, contribute
money, goods, time or physical work in the implementation of the
community welfare projects. Once people start working at community
level they would be blessed with the true feelings of satisfaction and
happiness. Community work would also promote understanding and
friendship among members who come from different ethnic or religious
backgrounds. We should all join hands for the welfare of our
communities, particularly the sections who are jobless or otherwise in