In Jo's Blog
Update: The woman DID write back. She was gracious and very apologetic and explained that she never meant to offend, but only wanted guidance on how to proceed with the assignment her daughter had been given. She offered herself to approach the school and point out how inappropriate the request was. So, it was worth my taking action!
Just now, we got a message on our website “Contact Us” page. A message – it was about a child’s “Class Project” –  so amazing it simply demanded a response.
Yet I was so taken aback by its assumptions and confidence, it took me some time to recover enough to reply.
Dear XXX,
I am writing in response to your message to the Latika Roy Foundation website:
My residential school daughter has a project to spend couple of hours with special children, click pictures and get a letter for this time spent. Please guide how to work on this.
I am sure you mean well and that you probably didn’t give much thought to how we might interpret your words. But the fact is, your request is stunning.
Please try to imagine how you might feel if the principal of your daughter’s school got a letter saying My American students have a project to spend couple of hours with poor Indian children, click pictures and get a letter for this time spent. Please guide how to work on this.
You might feel offended. Or angry. It’s possible you might feel like saying that just because your daughter is Indian doesn’t mean she’s automatically poor. And then you might want to explain that your daughter and her classmates are not class projects any more than they are animals in a zoo. You might even feel like screaming: “Bloody hell!!! My daughter is no different from YOUR daughter. She is not a photo op for your child. She is a person with her own agenda and her own life. And by the way: Just who do you think you are?”
Please forgive my emotional response. My own daughter is one of the “special children” you refer to and I take this very personally. I would be grateful if you would use this as an opportunity to re-think your attitudes about people with disabilities.
It is not possible to respond to each and every individual who writes in to us. So you may be wondering why I chose to respond to XXX. All I can say is that her need seemed too great to ignore. God bless her.

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