Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Poverty: Education

As we learned last Tuesday, poverty and hunger are both huge issues in the world right now.  An unfortunate result of poverty is the lack of a decent education in third world countries.  Education is extremely important.  What decent job can you get without at least a high school education?  You can't become a doctor, a political figure, a lawyer, a dentist, a teacher, or a scientist without a college degree.  Many people believe that you can't go far in life at all without a college degree.  It can be difficult as a student in a wealthy country to make it through twelfth grade and get your diploma.  Imagine trying to get a good education as a child in a third world country. 


Your text books are old and worn or nonexistent.  You often have to skip school for weeks at a time to help your family earn money or to care for a sick family member.  In order to attend class, you must have a proper uniform and school shoes and these things cost money that you don't have.  When you can manage to go to school, you have to get up early and walk for blocks through dangerous streets in order to make it on time, and then you have to walk all the way back home, often after dark.  Your empty stomach makes it hard to concentrate on your schoolwork.  You're often sick because the water you drink at home is unsanitary and filled with parasites.  You sit on hard wooden benches each day and write on wrinkled, brown paper.  Sometimes your hands become too swollen to write because chiggers, mosquitoes, and horseflies won't stop biting your fingers.  It's hard to achieve good scores on the important tests that allow you to graduate to the next grade level because your teacher didn't even make it to eighth grade.  In the early morning, late evening, and rainy days, class has to come to a pause because your school room doesn't have electricity and nobody can see well enough to write or read in the dark room.  You hear stories about rich Americans and Europeans who hate going to school and you wonder why they think they have it so bad.

The United States literacy rate is currently at 99% for people over the age of fifteen.  In third world countries, a vast majority of people are illiterate.  Take Burkina Faso, for example.  The literacy rate for this African country is currently at an astonishingly low 23.6%.  We could be doing so much more to prevent this.  According to the Millennium Development Goals Report, more than seventy-two million children of primary school age did not attend school in 2005.  The Millennium Development Goals Report considered these numbers to be a huge improvement, but I take it to mean that there are still seventy-two million children around the world who are not getting any education whatsoever. 

These children have the potential to become significant leaders of their country.  They could become great doctors who find cures for cancer and AIDS.  They could become teachers who help to bring up the literacy rates in their countries.  They could become powerful individuals who help make the world a better place.  Unfortunately, these children will never be given the chance to develop and use these abilities. 

If it is true that it is nearly impossible to be truly successful without an education, then this is exactly what our next generation is going to have... which means that this will become a cycle, and hunger, illiteracy, and extreme poverty will hit these third world countries just as hard as before. 

What can you do to improve these devastating statistics? 


  • Sponsor a child.  Your sponsorship will go to provide an education- even through college or vocational school- for these poverty-stricken kids.  Your thirty dollars a month can help to change the world, simply by improving the life of a forgotten child with so much potential.  Try World Vision or Christian Relief Fund
  • Recycle your old books and textbooks.  Many organizations can use your books to give to kids and schools in third world countries that can't afford to purchase their own.  This means that those old, trashy books that you were going to throw away can help teach someone to read.  Invisible Children has a program called Schools for Schools where you can donate your school's text books to give to poor schools in Uganda, Africa. 
  • Write letters to your local senators and congressmen.  Write letters to the president, for that matter.  Education is so important.  Your country could be doing so much more to improve the standards of education throughout the world.  Your letters can help make a difference.  
  • Pray.  Ask God to provide new opportunities for these children to get a much-needed education.  Ask Him to give you a heart for the needy and a will to fight against poverty.
Whatever you do, please remember to appreciate your education.  I'm a high school student.  I realize that working hard and getting up early for school every single day can seem monotonous, tiring, and even pointless at times, but when you start to feel frustrated with your school, remember how much kids who don't have an education long to be in your shoes... figuratively and literally.  Use your education to help make a difference in the world.  Don't take your blessings for granted.

Do you have any opinions about this subject?  Comment below.  I take the credit for the pictures used in today's article. 

3 comments:

  1. mylifeisafairytaleMay 8, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    This was an amazing article. You're a wonderful writer.
    I actually was putting off some homework that seemed boring and useless, this really put things in perspective for me. thanks!

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  2. I agree with mylifeisafairytale...you're a great writer. :)
    I realized how lucky I am to go to school. I won't take it for granted anymore. Thanks!

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  3. Thank you so much. I have been hearing a lot about this issue throughout this year and am so thankul that I am given the knowledge of this. I can see God has really been placing this on my heart and given me a passion to help and make a difference for these children. I don't have money except for pennies and dimes I collect for this cause, but I feel as though I can still help. Thanks for giving the idea of writing letters. I am definitely praying for these children. Thanks so much for writing this and encouraging us all. :D

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