What the Rural Poor Can Teach Us

| June 3, 2002

What the Rural Poor Can Teach Us, Bunker Roy, Earth Times
Even the most well-meaning of poverty 'experts' are often too displaced from their subject to comprehend good resolutions. First-hand experience, Bunker Roy writes in Earth Times, is the most valuable teacher one can have when seeking a long-term solution to poverty. Roy's background and education, he said, 'had made me so arrogant, conceited and supremely confident that I was prepared to provide instant solutions and change the world overnight.' But, after living in a poor Indian village, Roy discovered a reality that 'formal' education failed to convey. 'We have never given the rural poor a chance to teach us,' Roy states. One can gain a real understanding of poverty, he adds, 'if only the urban-based, paper-qualified experts are prepared to listen, be humble, patient, tolerant.'
--Julie Madsen
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