Journal Entry #15: What can they be when they grow up? By Emma Lella

In the U.S., students focus on what elective they will be taking or if they have to attend gym class, whereas in Sub-Saharan Africa children beg their parents to have the opportunity to walk 5 miles to the closest school. Access to education varies from country to country, yet in 2017, how can the differences be so vast?

Wealth, race, ethnicity, and gender are aspects that play into the opportunities that children have to attend school. Why should this be? Why should a child whose family is more wealthy be able to attend school while a child who is living in poverty can’t receive an education? Children of every ethnicity and gender should be allowed to learn basics life skills and learn to read and write. No child should grow to be an illiterate adult or one that lacks an education to find a decent job.

Basic life skills including reading, writing, and arithmetic build crucial platforms for children so that they will be able to have a career in order to provide for themselves and their future family. In a classroom, students learn how to interact with others, acquire social skills, and understand responsibility that of which is limited at home.

Children in Sub-Saharan Afrcia reading after they finished school for the day

As of now, according to Humanium a child sponsorship dedicated to stopping violations of children's rights throughout the world researched that; within sub-saharan Africa, 32 million children at the primary school age are uneducated because of poverty and lack of resources. These families struggle to keep their children in school for more than 2 years. The number of children not attending primary school is almost the population of California!

With these numbers, it forces the new generation to stay illiterate and grow up without basic knowledge of common subjects. Therefore, they do not get to learn these life skills which will help them propel into adulthood and parenthood. The next generation falls into the same trap.

Education teaches literacy and gives children systematic instruction; this structure instills diligence into their young, eager minds. But with 41% children of primary school age never have attended school and will probably never start if current trends continue is a major issue. Parents prefer their children to grow up as educated people and have opportunities which will help them in the future and allow them to prosper in fields they dream of.

Her Story

A girl, Dorcas, is in fifth grade at St. Anne Primary School in Dekoa, Kémo Province, in Central African Republic. She told her story to a reporter who is a part of a global partnership for education. She said, “soon after the war began to ravage my village, my family escaped to the bush where we ended up spending a year. There was nothing to do and I really missed my school. So one day, I walked a long way to go back to school hoping to see some teachers and friends. Instead, I saw the entire building occupied by armed men. It was in total disorder. From a distance, I watched them take out school benches and textbooks from my classroom and burn them to ashes. I could not help myself – I burst into tears. It took away my last hope.”

School is a place where children can escape from their daily lives and chores and focus on their future. Children know it too, that if they are provided an education it will help their family in the future and it will allow them to work in many fields as an adult. These children in Sub-Saharan Africa are eager to learn, not just to help their future but also help their present life.

Girl learning to read becuase of the Room to Read non-profit organization

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) just last year announced the launch of a new fund to better coordinate support for and drive investment in education for children in countries of poverty or affected by humanitarian emergencies. This fund aims to reach more than 13.6 million children which does not include most children living in sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN is faced with many other problems facing the world today. For instance, the Syrian refugee crisis or the aggression by North Korea. However, they must realize that illiteracy not only affects kids today but it will affect many generations to come. Although the UN may think that this is not the most significant issue regarding humanity it is evidential that they realize the impact of educating children in various countries. They must come to acknowledge that educating the next generation can prevent future crisis’ in the world.

As Mr. Gordon Brown, the UN’s special envoy for global education stated, “these young people are missing out on schooling and this is becoming a full-blown global crisis that will affect future generations.” So educating the next generation will lead to success in their countries with future engineers and architects, and writers and teachers. By teaching these kids the fundamentals of learning, who knows what they can do to help the world in the future!”

Through much research and planning, many foundations have paved the way to provide education and schooling systems to many children throughout the world. One particular non-profit organization is Room to Read. Room to Read raises money to pay for children's education, build libraries, and provide the funding to send boys and girls of every ethnicity to school for more than 2 years. These foundations are making it easier and simpler to contribute to schooling in countries who may not have the same opportunities as them.

If we allow children in all countries of all races and ethnicities to have the opportunity to learn and become educated, it will better the world for many years to come. A child, wealthy or poor, should not be forced to stay out of school and live out their lives as illiterate. Instead they can become skilled people in their society. Skills and global education can bring humanity a step closer to a world of peace as an open mind is more tolerant to the differences of people in every corner of the world.

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