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A Dollar A Day: Bombay Jungle

It's easy to talk about Gandhian principles such as helping others and unity, but Jayesh Patel lives them every day. The founder of Indian NGO Manav Sadhna takes us on a tour through the vast slums of Ahmedabad, and explains that we already have enough good ideas; what we need is a commitment to put them into practice. 

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Produced by the Global Oneness Project.

Learn more about the aid organization Manav Sadhna.

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Segment 1

TITLE
Global Oneness Project
TITLE
Living Service
SIGN
Happiness depends on what you can give and not what you can get
SIGN
Sabarmati Ashram: Ghandi Memorial Museum
VOICEOVER
At the Gandhi Ashram, in the city of Ahmedabad, the work of the Mahatma continues through the efforts of Manav Sadhna, an NGO founded by Jayesh Patel, committed to working for the betterment of the poor and needy children living in the slums just outside the Ashram, where 120,000 people make their homes. At the heart of Manav Sadhna is Jayeshbhai, as he is affectionately known, a man whose dedication to the Gandhian principles of truth, non-violence, uplifting the poor and oppressed, promoting health and sanitation, and educating the poor masses of India has inspired thousands of volunteers around the world.
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Be the change you wish to see in the world - Gandhi
VOICEOVER
When we met him, he emphasized that it is not enough to talk about the values of oneness and unity, without living that understanding through our actions.
SIGN
Love all, Serve all
VOICEOVER
By providing nutritious meals, hygiene programs, and skills-based educational opportunities, Manav Sadhna works to eliminate child labor, get kids into school, and empower women to be economically independent. Normally, Jayeshbhai refuses to let reporters or filmmakers interview him, but he let us wire him with a mike and follow him throughout the day, as long as the camera was focused on the people he met. As he led us through the slums, we gained a new understanding of what it means to walk.
JAYESH PATEL
We all are one, and through service we connect the people, through the various, various types of service. First focus is the needy, the poor. If you can serve the poor, then your compassion comes out. And if your compassion comes out, that compassion goes everywhere: rich, poor, everywhere. So slowly, slowly that experiment becomes an example for others. And others can get involved in that experiment. So, the main thing is to connect the people to people, connect the heart to heart. That is very important. That's Manav Sadhna philosophy. This is the project, all we are doing, that is the project, but underlying is a process. We try to create a process in every human being. This work is just like a drop of the ocean. But a teardrop of compassion changes everything. Not ambition, mission is very important. Mission: I want to do it. That is my responsibility. I'm a human being and I want to do this. Love, work, according to your strength. Don't stretch, never stretch. Simplicity means adjust everywhere. And don't think too much. I am right now here, this is the best place for me, this is the best time for me, and this is the best people for me. That's living in the present.
JAYESH PATEL
How are you? Make sure you take a good shower. Hey you, doll, did you take a shower? See, they are making a movie out of you. Make sure you take a good shower, OK? How are you ma'am? See the house, come inside. See the house, how they put their vessels, they made themselves. Simple. Very poor people, every day earning and every day eating. They don't know tomorrow's meal. If they work today, they earn and then they eat. Of this type, there are lots of people. Everywhere in the world. Did you take a shower?
JAYESH PATEL
Up until we die, we are always learning, learning, learning. Life is a learning process. I learn from the children. They are very pure. If they are reading and I say, "please, come here," immediately he comes. If someone, an older person hears that, they think first, "why is he calling me?" So, very pure. Children are very pure. They don't know what is true, what is untrue. They always speak the truth.
JAYESH PATEL
What's the name of this doll? Lets show these folks. I asked -- her name is cleanliness -- who is clean? So he said, "Yes, I am," then he said, "No I am not." And everybody pointed out this. Let me see your hand. See? Whoever is clean, they get to wear the doll. Let me see your nails, let me see, let me see. Wow, everyone's nails are clean. That's great! Give me a high-five. Very good. If you use your hands to clean your hair, clean you ears, pick your nose, then where will all that dirt go? [mimes eating] And then you'll complain, "Oh, my stomach hurts."
JAYESH PATEL
See the cross. Children don't know religion. She is a Hindu, but wearing a cross. That's real spirituality. Not religiousness. Let's go. If we can walk just like this, we'll require two days. It's a long, big slum. Religiousness is increasing, spirituality is decreasing. Spirituality means see the truth, love, compassion, goodness, kindness. That's spirituality, not Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad. Buddha means "aware." So, that is the way of life. Here, let me tie this doll to you since I have it with me. You want me to tie this? Someone asked Gandhi: What is the biggest problem after independence, the biggest dangerous thing after independence? Gandhi said: "Heartless intellectuals." So, people think with their minds, not connecting head, heart, and hand in harmony. Harmony between head, heart, and hand is very important. If you work, then you understand. You put your heart, devotion, dedication. And then you put your heart, you think properly.
JAYESH PATEL
Come, you want to see the house of this old lady? Here, show them your house. This is the royal bathroom of this family. [laughs] See, big bathroom. Come, come inside, see the house. Clothes, utensils, bed, blankets, and kitchen. She made this house herself.
ELDERLY WOMAN
Yeah, I made this myself.
JAYESH PATEL
Do you like living here?
ELDERLY WOMAN
What can I do? Where else can I go?
JAYESH PATEL
But it's a nice place you've got here.
ELDERLY WOMAN
Oh yeah, of course, it's great. I live here.
JAYESH PATEL
What is this?
ELDERLY WOMAN
This is where this kid sleeps. The old man is sick.
JAYESH PATEL
What happened?
ELDERLY WOMAN
He's had a head injury and is in the hospital.
JAYESH PATEL
Which hospital?
ELDERLY WOMAN
The nearby one, right here.
JAYESH PATEL
Well, then, if there are any problems, let me know. My friend Sunil can come and help you.

Segment 2

JAYESH PATEL
See, the lemon shop. They earn from this. In the evening, they go to this road, the main road, put up the stand, and then open this window, two sides, and sell the lemon juice. If you are thinking, then desire comes and desire brings misery. Problem, problem, problem. But go and work. Work on the problem, see the opportunity, try to involve and doors open.
JAYESH PATEL
I always walk. When you walk, "W" means "witness the nature." You see and witness small, small things when you walk. When you go by car, you can't see the small, small things. From near, you can't observe. So, when you walk, you observe small, small things. So witness the nature. "A" means then "accept circumstances." Someone is coming and they stop you and talk with you, accept that. Accept circumstances. When you witness nature and accept circumstances, then you love your life. "L" means "love your life." And when you love your life, then "K" means "know thyself." You know what you are, why you are here. So, walk means that.
JAYESH PATEL
If you can use your heart, then you understand, because if you get involved with some people, don't see the problems, try to see the opportunities. If you see the problem, then your mind works. If you can see the opportunity, then your heart works. So see the opportunity, and try, and then love multiplies. And see the goodness in the people, go into their hearts, and relieve the weakness, try to relieve the weakness.
JAYESH PATEL
It's a huge slum. 120,000 to 150,000. Be like a ladder, not like a leader. If you become like a ladder, then everyone develops themselves. And try to love all, serve all. Human beings sometimes fall down; they should not feel guilty. Because, after, people's expectation is increasing. Oh, Jayeshbhai is doing good work, but sometimes Jayeshbhai is making mistakes and they see my mistakes so big. So live like the common people. Don't raise your life up: then people see small, small things, your mistakes, your anything, big. And then they value you very small. But if you live like the common people, then they understand.

Segment 3

JAYESH PATEL
So they are making containers. From waste, they make a nice container for drain and then they sell it. So that is their employment, their special skill. So, we convert that into the garbage cans and we put into the house to drop their garbage. And we give employment: indirect employment, and employment created within, then it's sustained. Then it becomes a concept. And then we put into every house for the garbage. So, they get money, the waste goes for some nice use and people drop the garbage.
JAYESH PATEL
So, this is the drinking water. See, they put that container ... this is in the line. So we try to give basic amenities: water, toilet, drainage. But it is very difficult to provide that. Slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly. Try to convince government. We have a toilet donation program, latrine donation program, just like a blood donation program. We want to develop this area slowly, slowly. But first, we educate the people.
JAYESH PATEL
Come, come here. See the children. All the children are garbage collectors. Garbage is bread for them. This girl is sustaining her whole family. Her father and mother, both. Her mother has a severe back problem, and her father can't speak because of an infection, and can't walk properly, and paralysis, so these girls, Bharti and Jessy, sustain the whole family. They collect the garbage and then they segregate it, and here there are 21 garbage collection centers. Collection centers, huge clusters. So they sell them, and every day they earn. She earns ... How much do you make every day? You collect worth how much? Fifty rupees. We never give. This hand and this hand is not important, these two hands. This hand is very important. This is the ego, ambition. Dependency, misery. This is self-righteousness and equality.
JAYESH PATEL
Think globally but act locally. Think globally means you can be aware of the problems of the world. Think globally but act locally: how can I help? Problem and opportunity, both. If action and work is common, then action is a common language to bring people together. Slowly, slowly. If you talk, talk, talk, people won't come together. For two days, three days. Ideas there are lots of here. If all the ideas come together, tomorrow, all the problems are solved. Lots of ideas, good ideas. If all those ideas are implemented, tomorrow everybody lives a happy life. All the ideas are there, but no one is implementing those ideas. So, act locally means implement from where you are. Start to implement without other things. Start. That's: "think globally, but act locally."
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