Samhita Social Ventures has worked on large spectrum of projects with diverse mandates from clients. Our cause-agnostic approach and emphasis on social impact drives our ability to fully understand a client’s requirement and design programs that lead to both fulfillment of the client’s mandate as well as maximum social benefits on-ground.


Anything but a saint

The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is wholesale jerseys china dispelled in a paper by Serge Lariv and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole S of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education. The paper will be published in the March issue of the journal Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses and is an analysis of the published writings about Mother Teresa.

“While looking for documentation on the phenomenon of altruism for a seminar on ethics, one of us stumbled upon the life and work of one of Catholic Church’s most celebrated woman and now part of our collective imagination Mother Teresa whose real name was Agnes Gonxha,” says Professor Lariv who led the research. “The description was so ecstatic that it piqued our curiosity and pushed us to research further.”

As a result, the three researchers collected 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa. After eliminating 195 duplicates, they consulted 287 documents to conduct their analysis, representing 96% of the literature on the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC).

Facts debunk the myth of Mother Teresa

In their article, Serge Lariv and his colleagues also cite a number of problems not take into account by the Vatican in Mother Teresa’s beatification process, such as “her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce.”

The sick must suffer like Christ on the cross

At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries. The missions have been described as “homes for the dying” by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta. Two thirds of the people coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, while the other third lay dying without receiving appropriate care. The doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers. The problem is not a lack of money the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars but rather a particular conception of suffering and death: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens. Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital.

Questionable politics and shadowy accounting

Mother Teresa was generous with her prayers but rather miserly with her foundation’s millions when it came to humanity’s suffering. During numerous floods in India or following the explosion of a pesticide plant in Bhopal, she offered numerous prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary but no direct or monetary aid. On the other hand, she had no qualms about accepting the Legion of Honour and a grant from the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti. Millions of dollars were transferred to the MCO’s cheap jerseys various bank accounts, but most of the accounts were kept secret, Lariv says. “Given the parsimonious management of Mother Theresa’s works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?”

The cheap jerseys from china grand media plan for holiness

Despite these disturbing facts, how did Mother Teresa succeed in building an image of holiness and infinite goodness? According to the three researchers, her meeting in London in 1968 with the BBC’s Malcom Muggeridge, an anti abortion journalist who shared her right wing Catholic values, was crucial. Muggeridge decided to promote Teresa, who consequently discovered the power of mass media. In 1969, he made a eulogistic film of the missionary, promoting her by attributing to her the “first photographic miracle,” when it should have been attributed to the new film stock being marketed by Kodak. Afterwards, Mother Teresa travelled throughout the world and received numerous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance speech, on the subject of Bosnian women who were raped by Serbs and now sought abortion, she said: “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing direct murder by the mother herself.”

Following her death, the Vatican decided to waive the usual five year waiting period to open the beatification process. The miracle attributed to Mother Theresa was the healing of a woman, Monica Besra, who had been suffering from wholesale nfl jerseys intense abdominal pain. The woman testified that she was cured after a medallion blessed by Mother Theresa was placed on her abdomen. Her doctors thought otherwise: the ovarian cyst and the tuberculosis from which she suffered were healed by the drugs they had given her. The Vatican, nevertheless, concluded that it was a miracle. Mother Teresa’s popularity was such that she had become untouchable for the population, which had already declared her a saint.

Positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth

Despite Mother Teresa’s dubious way of caring for the sick by glorifying their suffering instead of relieving it, Serge Lariv and his colleagues point out the positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth: “If the extraordinary image of Mother Teresa conveyed in the collective imagination has encouraged humanitarian initiatives that are genuinely engaged with those crushed by poverty, we can only rejoice. It is likely that she has inspired many humanitarian workers whose actions have truly relieved the suffering of the destitute and addressed the causes of poverty and isolation without being extolled by the media. Nevertheless, the media coverage of Mother Theresa could have been a little more rigorous.”About the study

The study was conducted by Serge Lariv Department of psychoeducation, University of Montreal, Carole S Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, and Genevi Ch Department of psychoeducation, University of Montreal.

The printed version, available only in French, will be published in March 2013 in issue 42 of Studies in Religion / Sciences religieuses.

This study received no specific funding.

Professor Serge Lariv is available only for interviews in French. Professor Carole S will be available for English interviews on Friday, March 1st.

The University of Montreal is officially known as Universit de Montr

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.Articles Connexes:

Implementation partners of TechCamps in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai

Samhita worked as an implementation partner for a series of TechCamps held in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. We also collaborated with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) to organize a PeaceTech Exchange in Mumbai.  TechCamps are a program run by the U.S. State Department’s Civil Society (CS) 2.0 initiative – an effort to galvanize the technology community to assist civil society organizations (CSOs) across the globe by providing capabilities, resources and assistance to harness the latest information and communications technology (ICT) to build digital capacity.

TechCamps saw participation from NGO leaders, students, media persons and technology experts who have revolutionized the social space with effective use of technology. All participants underwent hands-on training on technology solutions that will address specific issues they face in the course of their work.

Samhita was involved in the end-to-end management of the workshops, starting from conducting outreach to NGOs for applications, heading the intensive logistics required for an event of this scale as well as developing all communications material such as the website, brochures, booklet, social media outreach etc. We also played a key role in scouting for experts and trainers and making connections with eminent people to endorse the initiative.

Co-organized the Philanthropy Leadership Confluence

Samhita partnered with the Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy to organize the Philanthropy Leadership Confluence in Mumbai. This confluence saw leading institutional, individual and corporate donors come together and take the first step towards forming a network by donors for donors. This was an exercise to seek recommendations from a diverse set of donors and sector intermediaries on the goals and activities of the network and an invitation to help them co-create the network.

philanthropy confluenceThis confluence was attended by a diverse set of individual donors, Indian and international foundations, sector intermediaries as well as social investors to debate and discuss how donors can collaborate to ensure the greatest social impact. Key speakers at this event included Rohini Nilekani, the Founder and Chairperson of Arghyam and Pratham Books, Ms. Paula Johnson, the Vice President of The Philanthropic Initiative, Vijay Mahajan, Chairman, BASIX and President, Micro Finance Institutions Network, Noshir H. Dadrawala, Chief Executive of CAP and Priya Naik, Founder and Joint MD of Samhita.

As a co-organizer, Samhita was involved in setting the agenda after extensive interviews with sector experts and key philanthropists, identifying significant contributors and driving logistics of the event.

Managing the application process for awards by companies and foundations

Samhita Social Ventures has worked with several corporate and philanthropic foundations to play an instrumental role in facilitating awards to recognize outstanding work for a particular cause. These include the EdelGive Social Innovation Honours given by the EdelGive Foundation, the EIFI Grants for Innovation in Education and the Hari Chopra Social Awards by the Trust of the same name. These awards gave away a sum of Rs.4 crore ($800,000) to NGOs that are doing path-breaking work in selected fields.

Samhita played a key role in the process and outcome of these awards. We provided end-to-end services to ensure that the initiatives were conducted in the most efficient manner and the most deserving NGOs received the award. This included designing the application form as well as helping set broad requirements and selection criteria. The application forms were hosted online on the Samhita portal and outreach was conducted among Samhita’s network of 38,000 NGOs. Intensive support was provided to prospective applicants and we also helped in final selection. We ensured the disbursement of the award and followed up to confirm its responsible usage. In all cases, the number of applications went up by more than double compared to previous occasions due to Samhita’s  intervention. The EdelGive Awards, for example, received 675 applications within a short period of 2 months.

Building capacity of an NGO for sustainability

A US-based philanthropic foundation employed Samhita as consultants to work with a Gujarat-based education NGO to enable them to raise funds, scale up operations and develop new models. The foundation was funding the NGO for almost two decades and is currently planning to phase out support to fund other initiatives. Hence, it wanted to build capacity of the NGO so that they could become sustainable. Samhita was brought in to work closely with the founder and top leadership of the NGO to help achieve this goal.

education in indiaOur involvement in the project was manifold. To begin with, we created a detailed fundraising strategy to sustain their existing rural education programs. Next, we created communications collateral aimed at addressing different constituencies of donors such as corporates, foundations and individuals. We visited Gujarat to observe NGO operations, interview the beneficiaries and communities and capture high-quality images and impact stories. We also set up a website for the program replete with fundraising capabilities. Brochures and banners were created for campaigns held during usual giving seasons such as Diwali in India and Thanksgiving and Christmas in the US. Connections were made to solicit corporate donations.

For the new model started by the NGO in the form of a social enterprise, Samhita played a key role in  preparing the business plan, working out the financials, helping out with recruitment of key staff, defining the service offerings and target constituencies. We also helped connect the NGO leadership to several successful education models across India for learning best practices and potential replication opportunities.

Implementation partners for the IDEX Fellowship

The IDEX Fellowship is a program that brings together young people from across the world to work for a year with social enterprises across India. IDEX Fellows are young achievers with considerable passion for making social change. The IDEX Fellowship is an offering of Gray Matters Capital.

fellowshipSamhita Social Ventures was the implementation partner for the IDEX Fellowship in Mumbai. This entailed screening and selection of social enterprises in the city, conducting due diligence, ensuring placement of IDEX fellows in appropriate social enterprises, performing reviews and milestone checks for the fellows, collecting feedback from all parties involved and finally, reporting progress and impact at regular intervals. Samhita worked closely with the Class of 2013 of IDEX fellows to aid them in successful completion of their program and helped set norms and streamline processes for GMC to make the program sustainable.

Fundraising partners of Vodafone’s RRR campaign

Samhita was the fundraising partner of Vodafone Foundation’s Red Rickshaw Revolution campaign that took place in the 3 weeks leading up to International Women’s Day on 8th March 2013. The campaign aimed to raise funds for NGOs working to address teething issues faced by women from marginalized communities by providing them with vocational training and employment opportunities.logo-RRR

All donations for the campaign from Indian entities came in through Samhita’s online donation portal, owned by our parent organization, Nadathur Trust. Receipts were duly issued to all donors. We also received donations in cheques. We reached out to our database of donors to solicit donations and promoted the campaign on our social networks. At the end of the campaign, we were responsible for disbursement of the raised funds to the beneficiary NGOs. The campaign raised a total of Rs.22 lakhs for its three beneficiary NGOs.