Just a Little Common Sense

For a life based on reason, ethics, literature and art.

Posts Tagged ‘Charity

Missionaries of Inhumanity

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Warning: Due to the distressing nature of the images, I’ve posted all of them at the very end of this post. May not be suitable to be viewed at work. Viewer discretion is advised.

Hemley Gonzalez, currently back in India, has found another volunteer for the Missionaries of Charity who is now, after 13 years of working for Mother Teresa’s famous organisation, willing to speak up about the countless cases of abuse, medical negligence, and financial fraud she witnessed. And she has many stories to tell. Here is the full-length interview, courtesy of Hemley Gonzalez.

Sally Warner, a registered nurse with a degree in sociology and a graduate diploma in social work from Western Australia, began working as a volunteer with The Missionaries of Charity in 1997. She quickly realized there was something horribly wrong going on in all of the children homes she had visited and volunteered in and soon after became a dissenting voice and critic of the organization, publishing her first book titled “Mother Teresa” in 2003 about these experiences and now currently working on her second publication “Mother Teresa: Sainthood Delayed” to be released in 2011. Sally had heard about my work and the facebook campaign: STOP The Missionaries of Charity / www.stopthemissionaries.com and after finding out I too was in Kolkata, a meeting was scheduled. The following is the transcribed audio of my hour-long interview with her on this most disheartening subject. More about Sally’s work: www.sallywarner.blogspot.com

Hemley Gonzalez [HG]: When did you come to Kolkata to work with the Missionaries of Charity?

Sally Warner [SW]: I’ve spent the last thirteen years volunteering and visiting several houses operated by the Missionaries of Charity, and eventually made my way to Kolkata in late 1999 and began volunteering in some of the houses in early 2000. Here I have visited and volunteered in: Green Park, Shanti Dan, Premdan, Daya Dan and Kalighat which I found quite awful, I lasted only a few day there as I thought it was very dangerous for volunteers with all the highly contagious cases of Tuberculosis, but I had to see it for myself and couldn’t believe it. Speaking of Kalighat, it is now closed for renovations which I’m sure you and your “STOP The Missionaries of Charity” campaign had much to do with.

HG: How many houses would you say you’ve worked in over the last 13 years?

SW: The following is a timeline of the homes I’ve worked in as well as the many others I have visited. I have spent most of my time in the children homes, there were some I could not deal with, some of the ladies homes, and others where patients were just sitting around and doing nothing, often in cement floors and lying in their own excrements, people drugged wrongly by the nuns and of course there is or should I say for now “was” Kalighat, where anyone could just walk in and immediately see an average of 50 men and 50 women laying in cots and basically rotting away.
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Responsible Charity

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Perhaps you remember Hemley Gonzalez. He is the one who did some amazing work raising awareness about some of the more controversial stuff behind the Missionaries of Charity – namely Mother Theresa’s Sisterhood’s opposition to hygiene, their refusal to administer pain-killers or use modern medical equipment, their rather mysterious attitude bookkeeping, and the horrible state of their sanitary facilities, all despite the millions of dollars this organisation receives in donations each year. He quickly became one of Mother Teresa’s most outspoken critics, even being interviewed by the indian Forbes magazine.

The short version of his story goes as follows: He went to india as a backpacker, felt inspired after reading a book about Mother Teresa’s work, and decided to visit Kolkatta to help. Upon arrival he was shocked by the crass difference between reality and the idealised image presented by the media and the Biography he’d read. Yet he stayed for two month, helping the best he could, faithfully documenting everything. Back home, he started a Facebook group called STOP the Missionaries of Charity, successfully kicking up some dust.

He could have left it at that. Like most of the Western world he could have sat at home whining and complaining, enjoying the attention, and never offering actually constructive criticism.

Of course I wouldn’t be writing about him now if he’d opted for that course of action. Being the inspiring person he is, Hemley went back to the US, spent two years networking, gathering support, and getting all the necessary applications and paperwork on the way. Currently, since December 2nd 2010, he’s back in India, enrolling kids in school, providing food, clothing and medical care, helping families make a living so the kids will be able to stay in school… only this time, it’s in the name of his own charity organisation, Responsible Charity. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Phil

December 17, 2010 at 19:15

A Call For A Black Christmas

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It’s christmas season, the season of love, family, blankets, hot water bottles and endless amounts of cookies. And above all, the season of blind consumerism and enormous waste.
Also, it’s the season in which people all over the westernized world quadruple their electricity bills so they can display a little plastic Santa Claus mechanically climbing up and down their fully lit house front, in order to win a petty little contest to confirm that they wasted more money on decor and electricity than anybody else in their neighborhood. Awesome.

Picture by Wikimedia Commons

Here’s my proposal: Don’t participate. Have an XMas-tree in your livingroom if you must, but stop lighting up your house like you want it to be seen from outer space. Instead, use the fest of love to do something good this year:

  • Don’t buy plastic-decor
  • Waste less energy
  • Think of those less privileged, and
  • Donate to charity (A list with recommendations will follow shortly)

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Hell’s Angel: Mother Teresa

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For decades now Mother Teresa has been one of the favourite and most successful PR-tools of the catholic church and Christianity in general. For her “humanitarian work” and “spiritual inspiration” she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Her name became a synonym of goodness around the world, although few people know what her work consists of, and even fewer have actually seen it. Those who did are usually rather shocked. Read, for example the account of Hemley Gonzalez, founder of the Facebook page STOP The Missionaries of Charity:

I worked as a volunteer in one of Mother Teresa’s homes in Calcutta, India, for a period of two months at the end of 2008. It was during this time that I was shocked to discover the horrific and negligent manner in which this charity operates and the direct contradiction of the public’s general understanding of their work. […]

Workers washing needles under tap water only to be reused again. Medicine and other vital items being stored for months on end, expiring and eventually still applied sporadically to patients. Volunteers with little or no training carrying out dangerous work on patients with highly contagious cases of Tuberculosis, leprosy and other life threatening illnesses, while the workers of the charity patently refuse to accept and implement machinery and equipment that would safely automate processes and save lives.

Few voices are brave enough to criticize the religious icon that is Mother Teresa so bluntly. The most famous criticism so far stems from the pen of Christopher Hitchens, Read the rest of this entry »

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