Matt Richardson


July 12, 2005 | 2 Minute Read

This post was supposed to go out about March this year, but for various reasons, it didn't. So here it is:

A friend of mine from Infosys Australia (Andrew, also known as Hatchy) just finished 3 months in Pune, India, as part of the outsourcing of the project I used to work on atTelstra. His wife, Sophie, went along as well, with the aim of doing some aid work there.

In his last email update, he wrote the following, which I wanted to share, as its a very good description of Indian poverty, but also a touching account of Sophie's time there:

When she first graced the streets of Pune it was (and will no doubt always be for any foreigner) an assault on the senses. India is a huge cultural shock for any Australian, the poverty and desperation that greet you will be forever implanted in your mind.


A couple of times Sophie worked in one of the poorest slums in the world, Bibewali, here she found children with missing eyes, limbs, most of their teeth missing or rotted and many people suffering the paralysing affects of Polio and other diseases.


At times it would affect her very deeply because some of the children are HIV+ To see a child so young with a disease that is going to cut their life tragically short is not something many people can cope with but Sophie never let it get her down or affect the way she in which she went about her work. Despite Bibewali Sophie spent many hours with the children from the slums at Tadawali Road too, some as young as 1 years old, teaching them basic things like colors, shapes, numbers and other simple things. Most of these children in reality may never go to school yet it was amasing how much they picked up and learnt by the time Sophie left.


In all Sophie's time here has been life changing and rewarding on a level that only comes with the experience of doing nothing more than trying to make a small difference in the world. As sad as many of the people in Pune were to see her go she also was equally sad and even commented many times that she wished she could stay here for longer.

My kudos to you, Sophie, for getting out there, and making a difference.

Tagged: On Travels