Through my interviews and experiences in all three countries I have learned that there will always be poverty as long as there are uneducated people and the only way to fight poverty is through education.
While I was in a slum called Hollywood during my time in India, I talked to a man named Amid. He is a street vendor of watches and belts and he lives in Hollywood. He overheard us talking to another man about the bad conditions in Hollywood and he joined in on the conversation. He told us that he earns about 300 to 400 rupees a day as a street vendor and more than half of that money goes to the education of his children. He uses his money to make sure his children go to private school because believes the government schools in the area, which are free to attend, have horrible teachers that do not care about teaching their students. Amid believes that the only way for his kids to have a positive future is through education. He stresses the importance of education to his kids but he told me that his kids have pressures from their friends in Hollywood to skip school. Amid told me that most of the kids in Hollywood do not go to school and when his children are walking to school their friends in Hollywood tell them not to go. Amid thinks that these uneducated kids are providing a bad influence to his children and Amid says that the reason the other kids do not see the importance in education is because their parents are uneducated. All of Amid’s neighbors are uneducated but Amid went to school until the tenth grade. Amid says he understands the importance of education and how it can lead to a better life but his neighbors do not. Amid said he tried to tell his neighbors that they should send their kids to school but they got mad at him and shut their doors on him. He believes that the reason there is so much poverty is because there are so many uneducated people. Amid believes that the only way to rise up out of poverty is through education and he believes that the families have to take the initiative to put their children into school.
When I was in Senegal I had a conversation with my host brother’s friend named Kareem. He told me that it is extremely hard to graduate high school here but he understands the need for dedication because he knows he can never honor his family if he does not have a job and he knows he cannot have a decent job unless he has an education. He kept his notes from class with him all the time even when he did not have school; it seemed to me like he thought of them as a prize possession or something.
Just a few days ago we learned about the horrible 2001 economic crash in Argentina that left thousands without jobs. I visited MTD in La Matanza, which is outside the city limits of Buenos Aires. This social organization helps out the community by making jobs but we learned that their number one priority is the kindergarden that they created. They told us that the kids that were born during the time of the economic crash, most of them never saw their parents go to work. This caused an issue because the kids didn’t know the importance of work so they did not go to school because they did not see their parents go to work. MTD started this kindergarden so that the kids could learn at a young age how important school is and so that they can continue their education to one day have a job so that they can feed their family.
Throughout my experiences in my own life I have also seen the importance of education. A few summers ago I traveled to Uganda with a non-for profit organization called Building Tomorrow. The organization builds primary schools in rural parts of Uganda to help give children a better future. My experience in Uganda was the first time I realized the importance of education and how it is pivotal for someone to overcome poverty. My mom always told me that if I did not go to school then I would have to work at McDonalds for the rest of my life. Before my experience in Uganda I only thought of education as a way to have a well respected and well paying job. My time in Uganda made me realize how importance education is and how it really can give someone a longer and healthier life because it can take him or her out of poverty.
For those of you that know, it is my birthday on April 30th. There is nothing I would want to wish for more on my birthday, than to help others. Through my experiences on this trip and other times through my life I have learned that it is a lot more difficult wish than it seems. What are the first steps? What is the right thing to do? Well, I do know how important education is and how it is needed all over the world and I have seen first hand the amazing things that Building Tomorrow can do. So for those of you who are thinking of getting me a birthday gift or just want to make a difference in this difficult world we live in please just donate to: https://pages.buildingtomorrow-mail.org/i-am-pages?supporter=Lucy