“Let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism. Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution.” Malala Yousafzai – United Nations address – 12 July, 2013
This quote has stuck with me. I have it sticky noted on my computer. Time and time again I meet children who have to opportunity to go to school. I meet young girls who slave away in other people’s homes, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the children. I mean YOUNG girls. Sometimes just twelve years old, like Jennifer was.
I meet adults who can’t speak a word of English, never had the chance to go to school and learn. I meet some adults who are now getting the opportunity to study English and I get to watch as it transforms their lives.
I look around and see the huge gaps. The girls getting pregnant so young, the babies left abandon by uneducated mothers who know they can’t provide for a child. The boys getting in to drugs and theft. If only someone would say “I believe in you. I want you to study.” And I’m so sure that many of them would respond that they WANT to study, more than anything.
Education is not to be taken for granted. It’s a huge opportunity.