Do-Goodyness vs. Doing Good (some thoughts on “white savior” issues in Africa)

I heard the blogger deliver this as a sermon at church. I think it’s a caution to those of us in the yoga community who would do “seva” abroad abstracted from the context of the people we would seek to serve.

Just Another Tree Hugger

Imagine you are a parent of school age children here in Andover. The state has a budget crisis and stops paying the teachers. Some stay in exchange for food, but the majority of them are gone. But don’t worry, they tell you, we are going to replace the teachers with 19 and 20 year old college students from Switzerland. Some of them are majoring in education, some of them aren’t, but hey, they’re really enthusiastic. These college students will come for 4-8 weeks at a time, and then leave to be replaced by new college students. Even though these eager volunteers have never been to the US before, know little to nothing about our culture, and have little to no teaching experience, we expect you to be thrilled about this and very grateful for their time. These new temporary teachers will take pictures of your children without your permission and…

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About Richard Hudak

I am Senior Adjunct Faculty in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and I have been a practitioner of Anusara™ yoga. I have completed 200 hours of teacher training within its diaspora community, consistent with its philosophy and alignment principles.
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