I am so lucky to live in a part of the world where my children can have an education.
Living in the developed world, I sometimes forget that education is a privilege, despite my belief that it should be a right for every child in the world.
Greg Mortenson, author of NYT bestseller Three Cups of Tea, is the director of the Bozeman-based non-profit Central Asia Institute (CAI), and has been building schools, particularly for girls, in mountain areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. As of 2007, he had built 64 schools which provide education to over 24,000 students, including 14,000 females.
I wanted my 15-year-old son Jordan to watch the special on CNN last night where children in Afghanistan and Pakistan were begging for an education. Kids sat cross-legged on dusty desert floors, watching their teacher write on the outdoor blackboard. The concentration and enthusiasm they expressed, was equivalent to U.S. teenagers being offered the latest, most expensive electronic gizmo. When asked what they wanted more than anything, “an education” was their first response.
When we lived in Belize, my three sons spent hours fishing with big Sergio, our caretaker and his son, little Sergio. One evening we had them over for dinner. Big Sergio, only twenty-one said, “You lucky. You go school, get books and computers. I work in sugar-cane fields at thirteen, to help for food. No money for books, only work for food.”
Big Sergio gave my family a gift. No amount of lecturing from me, could ever make my kids understand that in many parts of the world, education is seen as a privilege.
I know they were shocked to hear big Sergio had quit school at thirteen. During the year we spent on Ambergris Caye, my boys showed him how to use a computer and little Sergio how to read and speak English.
What are your views on this topic?
Do you have any stories to share about your kids and education or kids from other parts of the world?