Redefining Development Aid and NGOs

Today my good friend and documentary film maker, also responsible for the beautiful photographs on this site, recommended that I go see a large NGO, Mighty Nepal , for assistance. I have always been skeptical of these large institutions and here is why. Through my experience during my challenges with forced marriage, I went to them and asked for help. Sadly, their strictly defined categories for aid meant that I was rejected. (In this case, because my situation did not involve human trafficking).  I have found that many of these organizations have much money to spend on fancy buildings and soaps for their bathrooms but little happens when people are truly in need. Many boxes to tick, hoops through which to jump, requirements to meet, papers to sign, and other restrictions on assistance make it very difficult for someone in a desperate situation to get help. As a further insult, simply hanging up the phone as they did in my case, rather than suggesting alternatives for assistance perhaps through other organizations, left me isolated and continuing to suffer. I was told to go to the police, yet I knew that the bribes and corruption and affiliations with officials in power made this a very risky situation for me. I had no one to trust or turn to. 

All of these experiences, though  painful, only  make me want to work harder for my dream. I wish to create an organization that does not turn away from a woman in need, but rather promote flexibility and adaptability in order to help as many individuals as possible. In other words, an organization with a human face rather than cold bureaucratic doors and empty responses. How can people learn to trust others and their own abilities when their needs continue to be ignored even by those who claim to help?

Indeed, this is not to say all of these organizations are bad. Certainly they do good work. But given their size and lack of transparency I wonder sometimes if all of their actions are truly contributing to the greater good of Nepalese to their maximum ability.