With aspiration running high, I walked past the car parked in the portico of CARE Bihar’s office in Ranchi, on a cold morning of January in 1998. It was my first day of work in one of largest relief and development organisation of the world. As soon as I entered the reception area, I saw a huge black and white photograph hanging on the wall. It showed the distribution of packages in some relief setting. This infused further zeal in me as I waited for the initial joining formalities to start.
Those early days at CARE India, I understood that a large portfolio of CARE’s work was concentrated on supplying food, like Corn Soya Blend (CSB) and Refined Vegetable Oil (RVO), to women and children at the Anganwadi Centres in select Indian states. CARE also worked to a large extent on the promotion of healthcare, strengthening service delivery and support for income generation through microfinance.
Distribution of the large brown bags containing 25 kg of CSB and tins of RVO was a part of our daily work. Through field visits and other associated activities, we had to ensure that there existed an uninterrupted supply chain, audit of the commodity use and review of the feeding program.
With changing times, the program framework of CARE India has moulded itself to other requirements. Gender equality, right-based programming, strengthening of governance, behaviour change communication has gradually found large space within CARE India’s projects. The spectrum has further broadened with the inclusion of Jharkand as new lines of poverty alleviation and empowerment were formed. Gradually, the food supply program was phased out and other activities such as technical assistance to government for system strengthening, policy formulation and improvement in the implementation of social schemes on health, nutrition and education have occupied the centre stage. These changes were steered through conscious decision to empower women and girls.
CARE India continues to work with government system, Non-Governmental Organisations, peer organisations and corporate bodies to make sustainable and lasting changes in the lives of the socially marginalised communities, especially women and girls. I believe that CARE India will be even more responsive to the needs of the local communities for which it designs and implements projects. The expanded partners’ base and stakeholders further provide the pillar of support to the organisation.
As I continue my reminiscence, I am surprised as I had never imagined then that this association would continue for so long. My relationship with CARE has continued for 16 years now. While watching the snapshot of CARE’s work in the Discovery Channel, I will never forget the goose bumps I got and I am proud to be a part of the CARE family, as it is an epitome of a humanitarian organisation.
Head of Program Operations