“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela
“Education is the movement from darkness to light” Allan Bloom
I usually try and avoid using quotes, the invention of Facebook and Instagram ensuring you have probably seen every significant quote at least 10 times throughout the last few years. Many completely out of context.. These 2 quotes from Nelson Mandela and Allan Bloom perfectly encapsulate what my thoughts are however, so I’ve decided to make an exception.
When I started this project last year, I spent a good while considering which area of focus was likely to have the biggest impact from my fundraising efforts and where I could actually make a difference. I knew I wanted to help the people of Nepal, young children in particular, but in what way was still up for debate.
The amount of help needed in Nepal ( and the world in general) is truly staggering; diseases, lack of water, sanitation, drought, political turmoil, its simply not possible to help every cause out there. After a bit of deliberating, I realised there was one area i could focus on that would have an influence on all others. That is education.
What really resonated with me when I got the chance to meet the local people in rural Nepal, was their lack of hope and optimism about the future. Don’t get me wrong, they still lead happy and cheerful lives, but they see no way out of their current circumstances. They are trapped in that poverty cycle and don’t see a means to escape. Often living on $1 a day, few opportunities are available to venture out and provide more for their families. They simply don’t know how to go about it. As far as I can reason, there is only one way to solve that problem..
The thing with education is that it takes time to see results. The kids that are educated today will probably need 20+ years to have an impact on their own environment, let alone the rest of the world. But it’s the only long term solution. Providing medication for disease, supplies of food for hunger, shelter for those displaced by war.. they are bandaids and will only provide temporary relief. They may receive more attention and support because they demonstrate tangible results from every dollar invested. You can see exactly where the money is going and how it is being used (or abused). Investment in learning is a little less black and white.
Education is not just what is learnt in a formal schooling environment, it encapsulates everything which we absorb and which influences our knowledge base and view of the world. Many say travel is the best education and I couldn’t agree more, nothing will alter your view of the world more than seeing it for yourself.
School is an important part of the process however and something we take for granted here in the west. School lays the foundation for a childs development. This is when our first opinion are formed, our capacity for thinking and impressions of the adult world are developed. I would argue the first 3 years at school are perhaps more important than the rest of primary and high school put together.
We take it as a given that we are enrolled in school at the age of 4 or 5 (sometimes earlier) and spend the next 10-20 years of our lives with this establishment as our main occupation. We see it as a basic human right and a choice we are freely granted as to whether we pursue the opportunity or not. Many kids in the developing world are desperate for a chance to simply sit in a classroom and learn. A pencil is enough to brighten their day and open a new world of possiblity.
From my experiences, kids without access to a proper education are always the most enthisiastic and willing to learn when given the opportunity.
If I am to meet my maker at some point over the course of this journey, I’d like to be able to say I’d done as much as I could to make the world a more positive place. That to me makes for a meaningful existence. If I can help a few kids escape their poverty and live productive lives then I will feel content that I have achieved that mission. I want to give these kids the opportunity to change their own communities. The knowledge and skills to make a difference and hopefully a chance to make their own impact on the world.
If you’d like to help me achieve this vision, you can donate directly through Save the Children here: DONATE