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Helping the poorest of the poor

Helping the poorest of the poor is what Mic McDaniel and his Enumclaw-based Global Helps Network is doing in India.

The former real estate agent is using the nonprofit organization to offer humanitarian aid, help develop businesses, bring in job skill training, establish schools, provide medical clinics and create mico-loans to help small businesses around the globe, but specifically in India.

McDaniel got his start in 1988 on an exploratory trip overseas as part of Operation Mobilization. In 1993, he and his wife moved to the Czech Republic where their main role was to be a mom and dad to young people at a missionary training school at a former Communist farm. In 2000, they returned to Enumclaw to become the Northwest Regional Directors, a position they continued until 2009, when friends told them about India.

McDaniel took a team there in February 2009 and again a year later.

Now it’s his focus.

“There are so human rights issues that scream out at you and make you want to get involved,” McDaniel said.

Kumar Swamy is a witness.

“It is working,” said Swamy, who was recently in Enumclaw on his way to a speaking engagement in Seattle. “It is definitely working.

“We are thankful for their partnership in addressing our situation.”

Swamy speaks from personal experience. Swamy joined Operation Mobilization India for a three-month project in 1973, and re-joined long term in 1977. Today he is based in Bangalore and is the South India Field Leader, overseeing many church and ministry programs.

The poorest of those poor are often the Dalits, or untouchables.

Swamy said Dalits make up a quarter of India’s population and are discriminated against on a daily basis.

“Our motivation is to help these people that are oppressed so unfairly,” he said. “They don’t know how to hope. They don’t know how to dream.”

He said Dalits have limited skills, perhaps passing on a skill, like brick laying, for thousands of years. They are often illiterate, remote and many times victims of exploitation and trafficking.

“They’ve been viewed as slaves,” Swamy said.

Swamy presents himself as an example. He holds a degree in psychology and is a national leader, world traveler and international speaker, despite his success, in India he is still looked upon as a Dalit.

“You can never move away from that system,” he said of the country’s traditional caste system. His physical features, family name, job profession, geographic location and body language make him detected as a Dalit.

He and McDaniel focus their energies and resources for the biggest impact. They are working to transform small communities one at a time.

Swamy said programs and assistance are available, people need to know how to take advantage of it.

Education is one way.

“We want to empower them,” he said. “To emancipate them.”

Education improves them and gives them dignity and self worth, Swamy said.

“What I’m doing in Indian. What Mic’s doing in this part of the world. We can change the system and help the poorest of the poor,” Swamy said.

Global Helps Network also has a child sponsorship program, a pregnant water buffalo project and provides medical camps. For information, visit the website at www.GlobalHelpsNetwork.org.

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