It starts with a council estate

Jonathan Glennie asks: What can British residents learn about development from Katine?

“I know a lot of Africans, Latin Americans and Asians who are appalled at how we live in this country and who genuinely pity us for our way of life. And they don’t just pity the poor. They pity the affluent, the wealthy, society as a whole. They cannot fathom how we put our parents into old peoples’ homes to sit in circles watching telly. They are sad that mental health is now as big a concern in our hospitals as physical injury. They find the number of abortions carried out each year abhorrent, to name just three examples.”

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“In the Katine project, through the website, we have learned of the serious problems locals face: in education, health, gender differences, water quality and simply making a decent living. What would our experts from Katine discover on their visit to a poor British community? They might visit the parents of a young boy, the most recent victim of knife crime. They might be invited to a group for pregnant teenagers. Go around the corner to the school where smoking kids are shouting at teachers. Up the road, past the crack house, is the job centre where there are no jobs for people with no skills. A caricature, maybe, but not so far from the reality of life for many people living in Britain today. Having created a society so ill at ease with itself, so disappointing, it might seem surprising, almost arrogant, that we still choose to go abroad to try to help other people.”

Fantastic article. So many questions and even more possibilties.