Searching for the pot of gold at the foot of the Goan rainbow

Searching for the pot of gold at the foot of the Goan rainbow

I haven’t written for theglasshammer for a while,  so was really delighted to be asked to contribute a piece about my time in India with charity Educators’ Trust India to their “Intrepid Woman”  series – albeit I do feel as if I’m there under false pretences on the “intrepid” stakes.

The article starts:

Goa: the smallest and the richest state in India; a former Portuguese colony, a place of beautiful golden beaches, swaying palm trees and over a million domestic and foreign tourists per year. The wealth brought by the tourists also brings an influx of economic migrants. In search of work and money, they travel to this tiny state in western India from other areas – hundreds and in some cases thousands of miles away.

I first visited Goa in 1999, have been back many times since then and have seen the volume of both tourists and of workers from other parts of India soar in the intervening years. Unsurprisingly, the Goan infrastructure is now creaking under this flood of people; from a tourist’s point of view, power cuts and water shortages are increasingly common but can be dismissed as being “part of the Indian experience.” However, what many tourists never see are the living environments of many of the migrant workers – and, more particularly, how this impacts the health and education of their children.

– and can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

This week,  I’ve been writing copy for some of the other pages on the ETI website and I had a Skype call with the team in Goa in order to get some ideas for content and to check some details and facts.  Here’s what they told me when I asked what they’d buy with certain specific cash sums:

£5                                Buys 5 pairs of flip flops to protect children’s feet from injuries and blood poisoning

£10                              Provides rice, milk and eggs for a dozen pregnant and breast feeding women

£15                              50p per day pays for a month’s medical supplies such as antibiotics, plasters, dressings, headlice treatment, cough medicine, anti-malarial tablets etc

£20                              Funds materials such as a week’s worth of petrol to drive between their projects and visit the mobile schools, take sick children to hospital and so on

£25                              Pays for one week’s rent at one of the two permanent schools

£50                              Buys a DVD player and educational DVDs

£100                            Pays for one teacher’s salary for a month.

As I say in the article,  these figures certainly put my daily latte habit (c. £50 a month!) into perspective …

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