Don’t neglect empathy in the pursuit of analysis  

Sumitra Mishra

If philanthropy education is at an embryonic stage in Europe, the concept is not yet seeded in India. That does not imply that philanthropy is not growing. It is. It is being driven by philanthropists, foundations and increasingly visible philanthropy management organizations. But the focus is on making philanthropy effective in addressing issues left by the free market rather than unravelling and addressing the complex structural issues of social justice. While there is focus on impact investment measurement models, the question of equity is feeble or silent in the philanthropy debate in India.

Education can help to address this want but, as it does so, it should recall that philanthropy is to do with people and that exalting analysis should not be at the expense of compassion.

The scope of philanthropy education goes beyond the models or management of philanthropy, to understand how it can potentially shift the power to the disenfranchised people to mobilize, lead and effect sustainable changes in the denial of rights, injustice and inequality.

The core values of empathy and compassion must drive the understanding of complexities in sustained change, so that the process of change is inclusive and equitable, and with the people for whom it matters the most at its centre.

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