chapter  8
17 Pages

Barefoot Professionals: A New Breed of Experts

One of the most serious impediments to development and growth is that of dependency. As discussed in Chapter 5, the rules established by the formal system marginalize, and even criminalize, the disadvantaged. There are other ways in which the poor are excluded, notably in the ability to access professional help whether it be medical, legal, technical, or social. Whereas the better-off sections of society have access to a circle of qualifi ed professionals whom they can approach for advice, and whom they can pay for their services, the poor have no such luxury. Because there is a lack of experience and understanding within the community itself of such specialized fi elds, they are more vulnerable to exploitation by those who pretend to have such skills. And because they cannot afford what might be called a full service, they are vulnerable to those who offer shortcuts. If we recognize that a lack of skills within the community is a serious drag on its development, how can this gap be addressed?