My 25 years with CARE
Santosh Sharma, Humanitarian Program Director based in Cox’s Bazar, CARE Bangladesh
Tears are the best expression of human emotions – I realized it recently when an email left me deeply touched, contented and overwhelmed. "Congratulations on your milestone with CARE this year! Thank you for your 25 years of hard work, commitment, and dedication' – the email I received from my head office on the evening of July 16, 2021, took me to memory lane like never before. I quietly met the long-forgotten me and my surroundings. My sad and colorful days. My struggles and achievements. My regrets and guilt. All. Oh, twenty-five years! Time flies indeed! I re-read the 'the token of appreciation, more than once, ofcourse, as I recognized how I have evolved to become a broader, happier and humbler person with the utmost care of CARE throughout those years.
We had celebrated our son's third birthday after a few months of me joining CARE as an officer in 1995. And my wife gave birth to our daughter two years later. Today, both of them are grown-up, independent, well-educated and chasing their dreams. All these would have hardly been possible without CARE, embracing me at a young age and giving me a vibrant atmosphere to deliver my best at the professional, personal and social spheres of life. Coincidently, I was reading the email in the USA with my son, and we both cannot deny that his journey towards a bright future does owe it to CARE to some extent. He and the rest of my family know how CARE has cared and continues to care for our family, as well as for millions of people around the globe. They all love to see me continue working with CARE for many more years to come.
I was born in a remote mountainous village of Nepal to a peasant family. Just like other kids around, I went to a public school with few facilities. I had to work hard in the fields along with my family members and yet we could hardly produce enough crops. Lack of fertile lands and irrigation systems were the culprits, and people had no choice other than agriculture. The hardships helped me grow as an empath, with an ability to feel the plights of fellow humans.
I completed my school-level education from a public institution only. For my expenses, I had started working from a very young age. In 1985, I was a pre-primary teacher. Then I worked as a salesman at a brewery company. In 1987, I joined Nepal Red Cross as Field Supervisor, and eight years later, I was with CARE as a Senior Training Officer. From then till today, when I look back, I find that those years were spent purely for community development, humanitarian works and policy designs. I taught many people as a trainer and learned from them as well. I compromised with my comforts at times for professional urgency, and in return, I received the best rewards, appreciation, and a sense of resilience. Overall, I cared for my duty with complete integrity and CARE cared for me just like its close friend.
CARE is home to me. The bonding is so pure and intense that I always strive to achieve CARE's humanitarian goals, where I can see the calling of my soul.