As an international professional development instructor for Kuder, I enjoy the unique opportunity to travel the globe and meet many different people.
Coming from a couple of days in Asia, I landed in Dubai last night and grabbed a taxi to take me to Abu Dhabi. This is when I met Manesh. He's a great guy, and he's been driving a taxi in Dubai for six years.
Manesh said he came to Dubai from India for the opportunity to make more money. His career in India was as a bus driver.
Driven by the desire to escape poverty.
Manesh drives an airport taxi, which means that he can only pick up at the airport. He shares his taxi in Dubai with another driver. His shift is 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.; the other driver works from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.
They each work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Manesh summarized his career very simply: “I like India, but I like driving taxi in Dubai as it pays me enough to send money home for my family.”
Manesh's wife and 10-year-old son reside in India. He visits home once every 12 months for a two-month holiday. He said he figures he'll need to work in Dubai for another four years to pay the “big loan,” as he put it, on the house he built for his family in India.
Working to survive is a reality for much of the world’s population.
I'm awed at the sacrifice Manesh and so many others make to have the basic accommodations that most people take for granted or think of as a birthright.
It's difficult for me to imagine not seeing my wife or kids for 12 months. I'm humbled when in the presence of men and women who live such a sacrificial life. Manesh acknowledged that he has it pretty good, as he is making way more than $2 per day.
The United Nations puts the number of people living on less than $2 a day at 2.8 billion people, which is nearly half the world's population today.
And while the India's economy has experienced high rates of growth and steady improvement in human development in recent years, according to World Bank statistics, the per capita income in India in 2015 was US$ 1,581.60. In contrast, the per capita income in the United States in 2015 was $55,836.80.
It's statistics like these that motivate me and my associates at Kuder to develop products and services that serve as drivers for economic development in countries around the world.
It’s about making the future brighter – together.
There is not one simple solution to the economic issues facing the world, from clean water to job creation and the many, many issues in between. But it's exciting to travel around the world to engage all stakeholders in economic prosperity – students, parents, educators (teachers, counselors, administrators), adult job seekers, government and community leaders, and the business sector – to implement improvements that streamline the pathways from education to careers, boost completion and transition rates, and ultimately form a workforce equipped to compete in a global economy.
It's gratifying to know that the career guidance courses we offer are helping to build systemic capacity through professional development.
It's heartening that Kuder's clients recognize the value in investing in workforce readiness programs to help connect youth to jobs that pay a living wage, and economic development initiatives that help businesses create new jobs.
For me, the ultimate goal is to help ensure that people like Manesh will not need to move thousands of miles from their families to earn more than $2 per day.