Bhubaneswar Buzz

TED talk by Dillip Ratha from Odisha on Hidden Force in Economics: Global Remittances


I live in Washington, D.C., but I grew up in Sindhekela, a village in Orissa, in India. My father was a government worker. My mother could not read or write, but she would say to me, “A king is worshipped only in his own kingdom. A poet is respected everywhere.” So I wanted to be a poet when I grew up.But I almost didn’t go to college until an aunt offered financial help.

I went to study in Sambalpur, the largest town in the region, where, already in college, I saw a television for the first time. I had dreams of going to the United States for higher studies. When the opportunity came, I crossed two oceans, with borrowed money for airfare and only a $20 bill in my pocket. In the U.S., I worked in a research center, part-time, while taking graduate classes in economics. And with the little I earned, I would finance myself and then I would send money home to my brother and my father.

My story is not unique. There are millions of people who migrate each year. With the help of the family, they cross oceans, they cross deserts, they cross rivers, they cross mountains. They risk their lives to realize a dream, and that dream is as simple as having a decent job somewhere so they can send money home and help the family, which has helped them before.

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