Thanks to people like Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Oprah Winfrey, philanthropy has become a popular concept. These people, along with the likes of Tej Kohli many, have decided to give back to society in their own way instead of hoarding the wealth themselves. Many of these tycoons have been working in the poor parts of the world, like in the regions of Africa, South America, and Asia. While the investment in the development and humanitarian effort has been high, a new and innovative way of philanthropy is emerging. It is taking a different route.
Involving the community and the local people of the region in philanthropic projects is the new way to create a sustainable future for the people philanthropists want to help. Since the 1980s, there have been efforts to build local ownership. But it has been hampered consistently due to the top-down system and the demand for external actors. But Mr Kohli believes it is not the right path to creating a sustainable local system that can become empowered. The need is to strengthen the local organizations and the local people. They need to recognize the issues and create support that becomes part of the community fabric for civic action. The process will then allow the external actors to leave without shambling effort.
Local philanthropy has been part of the UK, the US, and Canadian fabric, and philanthropist Tej Kohli believes it should be taken to the global south. He believes that without bringing in community philanthropy, the projects handled by the elites of the world will be like a flash in the pan. It will look spectacular but will eventually die. The locals can offer a much longer and sustainable effect on the work while developing a relationship with the community where they will get the much-needed support and offer the same to the locals in need.
The process also warrants that by joining hands with local funders, the international donors can better understand the people and the context of how their funds are being utilized. When the philanthropy is south-oriented with the help of the locals, it is much more resourceful, organic, and trustworthy among the people who need the help.
Mr. Kohli believes in local philanthropy and engaging the community in the effort. The result is Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation. The organization brings in the sense of locality with the help of Dr Sanduk Ruit, who grew up in remote parts of Nepal. He knows the debilitating effect poverty and blindness can have, which pushed Dr Ruit to become an ophthalmologist. Mr Kohli joined Dr Ruit, ensuring the work was south-oriented and encouraging the locals to participate in the effort. The organization has proven that developing communities and countries do not need people from the west to run the show. Instead, the local philanthropists and NGOs have efficiently established a direct line of communication and connection with the community and bringing brought them for eye testing, screening, and operating on congenital blindness and cataracts.
Hence, localized funding is made available across the developing counties, so the communities and the region get the chance to develop, be self-reliant and be sustainable.