Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back-to-School Fair in Dallas

I read about this wonderful initiative of the Dallas City Council in Dallas Morning News couple of days ago. The article showcased the annual Back-to-School Fair which attracted about 50,000 people (double from last year). During the fair people were handed out free school supplies, administered innoculations, given haircuts etc.

The initiative is primarily aimed at poor families who find it difficult to put their children through school. Through this initiative the parents get free supplies and feel less burdened. And with slumping economy in the US the numbers queueing up for dole is only going to get more.

This initiative was started in 1997 and is funded by the federal government and began as a drug prevetion program. But since the city identified other needs in the community they expanded it to include several other facets to the program. Like every other free offering there are simply too many people wanting to get them, for this fair too there were people who waited in the line for upto six hours so that they don't miss out on anything.

But something that really impressed me is the spirit of the people who attend and take help at such fairs. They know they are taking help and gratefully acknowledge it, and in the same breath they say that they want to become rich and sponsor such fairs. That is the spirit of enterprise which needs to be inculcated in every individual in the world.

I was wondering that in India we have lot of initiatives to give free stuff to school children. But most of them are centered around government schools and children who attend private schools are not beneficiaries of such initiatives. Moreover if an independent fair of this type were to be held it would attract people who can afford to buy supplies too and the real target of the program may not actually benefit. This shows an abject lack of self-respect and enterprise and a desire to get everything free from the government.

I wish things change sooner and we start developing quicker.

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