(Suramoni wrote this in 2014 immediately after joining the field at Balrampur, Chhattisgarh in response to a call for personal profiles)
Hi, my name is Suamoni Boro. I am allotted the district of Balrampur, in the state of Chhattisgarh. I am a lawyer by profession. I completed my B.A. LL.B (Hons) from North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong Campus, Meghalaya.
After my graduation and prior to joining the fellowship (PMRDF), I was working in corporate sector as a law professional for more than 2 years in the capacity of Legal Associate and senor Legal Associate. My aim was to work in the field grow up as a professional. However, at the end of the day, I was not satisfied as to what I was doing. Time and again, I was questioning myself if I was contributing to any change for good!
The phrase “Change for good” is very close to me. I was born and brought up in a village called Lakhi Nepali Basti, Jonai. It is located within the district of Dhemaji in the state of Assam. It is the place where the railways have stopped running for the last 3 years or more. It is a place perennially affected with flood and remains out-off from rest of the world for one to two months at a stretch. At that point, the entire place seems to survive hanging from a thin string of hope.
However, the place was not this way earlier. It all happened after the Supreme Court of India banned the business of timber in the neighborhood of Arunachal Pradesh. When I was growing up as a kid, there used to be a thriving timber business in the region. The entire population, most of them being settlers, used to depend on this business. However, after the Supreme Court ban, the entire population was left without any alternate earning source. Slowly, but surely, poverty dawned in the once prosperous region. Whatever schemes were there were literally captured by those who knew it all. I have seen the hopelessness in the eyes of the peoples, my parents.
Then came in my life Mr. Swargiary. He was a teacher and a Christian missionary. In this state of utter hopelessness, he was the one to push us, encourage us to attend school and stand. In spite of severe lack of resources, he was always there to tell us to move on. He was hopeful that one day or the other, we can achieve our goal of achieving higher degree.
At that point, I always thought of “Why” of the situation, but never had the understanding of “How” to move out of the situation, as prevailed. Now, it is almost a full circle for me. I was from the side of why of the situation. I am now in the other side – of “How” to move out of the situation. I believe experience teaches one that. I can use this experience of mine to understand, and working with people, solving their problems.
The poor people, from my own experience, are not lazy nor that they don’t want to change their economic status. It is just that there is lack of facilitation, gap of understanding between the needs and the meets. They used to be quite hopeful. So, my main focus is to drive this hopefulness. My areas of work will be mostly related to livelihood, water management education and health. Children and women will be my main focus group. I have known the pain of losing one’s childhood. It is not only the individual’s loss, but also the entire society has to suffer and pay for it.
PMRDF is this beautiful opportunity for me to bring a little change in the society, in one’s individual life. It will definitely give me the platform to address the issue of poverty, discuss poverty related issues in more practicable ways, and help me to keep the flame of hope alive.
To conclude, my driving force is that if I do not do it, who will do then? If I do not do it now, when will I do then?