Building a Better World through Education

Building a Better World through Education

Building a Better World through Education

It was like any other days, except that it was raining this morning. I hated rainy mornings, especially when I had to wake up 6am to get ready for school. I was such an ‘ungrateful’ boy; I didn’t know it was a great blessing to be worried free and to be able to concentrate on my main responsibility – to do well in school.

Almost every new school year I had new bag, new set of stationery and textbooks. Not to mention new school uniforms and shoe. I didn’t remember I had to wear a pair of shoe with holes in them for long.

In the school, the classroom was well sheltered with cement walls. It was well ventilated with windows and ceiling fans. The classroom was also properly lit with lighting. To further entice us with school, each of us had our own desk and chair. When we needed to sit on the cement flooring, we had proper mats to sit on. We even had regularly dental checked up to make sure we brushed our teeth.

What else did we have to worry about? Practically nothing, except probably with the examinations.

And yet, going through school seemed to be just a chore of growing up for me. I was pretty much going through the motion. Yes, still remember I mentioned I was an ‘ungrateful’ boy; I had very much taken everything for granted.

I had thought that literacy was a natural part of children my age. I didn’t know that being able to read and write were special privileges to many but not all. I didn’t know that in worlds away from mine, education was, and still is, a luxury to many … probably to many of them, it didn’t even cross their minds since they are struggling to survive.

According to UNESCO, “… one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women while 75 million children are out of school.”

Back in 2003-2005, while I was working oversea, I remembered seeing children roaming in the street; some of them were peddling bracelets made from small white flowers, and some were running between cars, that stopped in the traffic, to ask for money.

One of my friends mentioned once that he was very tempted to unwind the window to pass the children some money but he stopped himself. He asked himself, “will I be doing more harms to these children than good if I pass them some money? If I do, they may have the wrong perception that money comes easily through begging.

I kind of agree with him. If we give a person a fish, we feed the person for a day. However, if we could teach the person how to fish, we could ‘feed’ the person for life.

Literacy may not be the immediate solution to solve a person’s livelihood. Literacy will however, provide a person with the basic of learning and from there onwards, hopefully it will enable the person to further learning on his/her own. And hopefully with empowerment from literacy, the person’s life will improve eventually.

According to UNESCO on the important of literacy, “Literacy is at the heart of basic education for all, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy.

I believe that education is one of the most important facets of life. I have read in some blogs that we can make donation to organisations that have on-going literacy projects, or to volunteer in your communities to teaching adults and children how to read and write and we can also donate books to the library or organisations that bring these books to countries that need them.

September 8 will be the International Literacy Day, which aims to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. With education, I hope that one day those children running in the street will have better lives.

What do you think we can do about building a better world through education?
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BetterWorldBooks.com – is one online bookstore that collects and sells books online to fund literacy initiatives worldwide. All books are available with free shipping to any location within the United States (or $3.97 worldwide). And in case youÔÇÖre concerned about your eco-footprint, every order is shipped carbon neutral with offsets from Carbonfund.org.

BetterWorldBooks.com’s five primary literacy partners are Books for Africa, Room to Read, Worldfund, the National Center for Family Literacy, and Invisible Children.

Photo credit: stokpic

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20 thoughts on “Building a Better World through Education

  1. VanillaSeven

    Agree with you BK, education is very important, especially the basic during primary and secondary. The higher the education level, the narrower the scope and to some people, become less useful in general. ( fyi, i don’t like study, ­čśÇ )
    .-= VanillaSeven┬┤s last blog ..Spice Up Your Life =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ VanillaSeven, somehow I agree with what you said, “The higher the education level, the narrower the scope..” We become specialized or expert in certain area to prepare us for the specific work we will be embarking on. I guess you’re not alone on the part that you didn’t like to study. ­čśë

  2. Brandie

    You weren’t truly ungrateful, you were just a child, and therefore had no idea how easy you had it. All situations are subjective to the experiences we’ve had. So if you’re a child, going to school, then that IS a great chore to you. It’s the hardest thing you know at the time, if that makes any sense.

    It’s sad how many people still struggle with literacy. In the US, we tend to take literacy for granted, because rarely, if ever, are we confronted with the reality of iliteracy. Thank you for forcing us to confront this subject!
    .-= Brandie┬┤s last blog ..Tristan Alexander =-.

  3. Liggy

    Excellent post! I do have to agree with you that we often take some things for granted. Even as young students we may complain about the amount of schoolwork or homework we have, but don’t realize until much later how valuable all that education will become to us, especially when we realize how others are not even fortunate to be able to attend school.

  4. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Brandie, it is indeed sad to see a lot of people still struggling with literacy. In most of these countries, it may really be the solution to eradicate poverty. The effect will not be immediate but with literacy, I believe that the situation will eventually improve.

  5. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Liggy, somehow it’s quite sad that one only realised how fortunate one is often much later. All that education is priceless although we did have to pay quite a hefty sum to get educated. The most valuable is to acquire the ability for continuous learning.

    @ Dorothy, education is a lifelong process and often time we may have to wait for many years before we start seeing results coming in. So it is really a salute to all educators who have the faith and the vision to see what others could not see.

  6. Shinade aka Jackie

    Oh boy I missed the ball on this one. I am a member of the group but I must have missed the email announcement.

    My oldest daughter is a Professor of English too. i feel so bad that I missed blogging on this.

    You did a terrific job BK! My husband who is 63 was one of nine children raised by share cropping farmer’s here in the U.S.

    For them they had to do so much work planting or picking before or after school that home work and school were a second thought in their family.

    A lot of people don;t realize that even in America, especially during his generation, school, reading and doing home work simply weren’t a priority.

    The main emphasis was to keep the crops in good shape and put food on the table. he was driving a tractor at the age of 6 until he became big enough to also pick. Then his younger brother took his place on the tractor and he became a picker.

    He can read, but with some difficulty, first he is dyslexic and that hinders his ability to read fast. But, what hurts him the most is his lack of comprehension and his poor spelling skills.

    Also my daughter is contiually amazed with every new year to see students entering college and taking her classes at the 200 and 300 levels who can barely read, and even though they have already been in college for 1 to 3 years most can still not write a paper using correct grammar and also correct citation.

    This is a major problem all over the world and one that all of us should really be concerned about and get involved.

    For these are children that will be running and governing the future.

    You inspired me with me with this wonderful write up. I hope many will donate. This is a wonderful cause!
    .-= Shinade aka Jackie┬┤s last blog ..The Colors Of Transition Southern Oklahoma =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Lina, you are right, there are a lot of people out there who would gladly take up our places for class. I sincerely hope that all will be given a chance at education. When I was oversea and seeing all those children on the street, my heart really ached for them. What could I possibly do for them? Even if I were to give each a dollar for food that day, there was only a limited amount which I could give. What could possibly help to change their future for the better? It was only recently that I realised that education could possibly be the answer.

      @ Jackie, you really touched me with your comment. It shown the enormous contribution of your husband’s generation to the economy of the nation. Without them at the fields, there would be nothing to feed the nation. And without them working day and night in the fields, the family could not be fed and grown up well. Their contribution which allows the future generations to be well nurtured in school and eventually contributed to the prosperity of the nation in different areas. They had truly sacrificed selflessly for the progress of the nation. Now the children are going through a different era and all the more important for them to be literate so that they can survive in this new age. I sincerely hope that at least all children be given an opportunity at education so that they can learn how to learn.

  7. sudama chadra panigrahi

    Fine reading. I had different experiences as a student. I had no books, shoe was unknown to me. No uniform was required to wear. During 8th class i was about to drop out but desisted or rescued. But after 10th i finally dropped out. My father was not able to fund my education. After seven long years i again decided to study but it was too late. And the rest is history of struggle.

    You are right that to make one learn the art of fishing is the right solution then to give a fish. But it is easier said than done. There is so many gaps to be bridged. The International community should come forward to fund literacy programs in third world countries.

    Very good friend. At least you are doing a small but significant service towards literacy by disseminating facts and spread awareness. Good luck.
    .-= sudama chadra panigrahi┬┤s last blog ..Education in Bharat: Resuscitation is the need of the Hour =-.

  8. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Sudama, teaching one to fish, indeed is easier said than done. The challenges are very real. However, there is no shortcut to any place worth going to. Education is the answer but not a solution that will create immediate effect. The challenges has been there for years and probably a few generations. It will take years and countless effort to really see results coming in.

  9. Symphony of Love Post author

    @ Rondi, education definitely may be one of the keys to success. You are right to certain extent that knowledge is power; applied knowledge is even more important. There is a saying which I remember, “knowing and not doing is yet to know.”

  10. Eren Mckay

    When we are children we have no clue as to what the world is like. I also believe that literacy is essential.
    I used to volunteer with children from the slum areas of the city I live in. They would come to my classroom and be so hungry. We would feed them lunch and teach them lessons. It’s so very sad the current situation of this world.
    All the best,
    Eren
    .-= Eren Mckay┬┤s last blog ..How to organize household papers & office files =-.