I drive my beautiful children to school each morning, kiss them and watch them walk through the gates. They have full bellies and happy hearts ready for the day’s learning at a wonderful school, their lunch boxes are full of healthy food and fresh water to drink. My 6-year-old son takes his footy cards to trade with his friends, and my daughter has some dolls or other treasures to share with her friends. When they come home they are full of stories about the events of the day or games they have played and I listen to them, sometimes with only one ear. However, I do hang out in their enthusiastic stories and life dramas with a feeling of joy and peace. I know how truly blessed their little lives are with bright and happy futures ahead of them, so I encourage their imaginations, teach them to dream and to believe in themselves and know that anything is possible.
Children in many developing countries tell a very different story.
Over 72 million primary aged children are currently not in school. Their reality is often to work to help their family survive as they are living in poverty. These children are literally living a life sentence of poverty themselves as they grow up with no alternative.
These children are working and living on rubbish tips, living in filth and squalor in appalling conditions and they are literally starving to death, or dying from other preventable illnesses or conditions. I struggle to imagine forcing my children to work everyday on an empty stomach, with little clothing, for long hours in appalling conditions just to get enough money for our family to survive. I would sell my soul before allowing that to happen. The parents of these children, I am sure, wish a happy and secure future for their children too, and yet they are stuck in a cycle of poverty that does not afford them to give many things to their beautiful children. This long line of poverty has affected generations before them and there seems no hope for a different future.
Even if you don’t have children yourself, can you imagine yourself in their shoes?
Through education, starting from the early years, children acquire the skills and attitudes to assert themselves in the world. Education is perhaps the best long term solution to poverty in the developing world. Time and time again experts say that educating children, especially girls, is the key to ending the global cycle of poverty and freeing children all over this precious planet to live more inspired and longer lives.
That is a dream worth working towards in my own small way and I want to send out a call to you… yes you, the one reading this, to make a small difference in the lives of children that will cause an avalanche of health and new horizons, for them, and for the future of us all.