In a great many places in the world, education means being able to do more than simply survive. It is security, opportunity, and a way to lift whole families out of the poverty cycle. It means literacy, and the ability to advocate for oneself and one’s community. Education is enabling.
Poverty is a disease.
I think that’s what stood out the most for me on my trip to El Salvador this past September. Just the difference in the kids we met who had the chance to go to school, who attended kindergarten or after-school programs our youth councils; they were happy, and hopeful. They were going to be more than okay.
Recent studies have pointed to the epigenetic influence poverty has on children’s growth and development and cognitive function. Poverty is a disease, and it is destructive at not just the personal level, but the social level as well. Our communities are worse off for the effects of poverty on any part of the population. But education is the remedy, especially in the developing world.
Kids who are able to attend school full time are less likely to find themselves employed in dirty, dangerous or degrading work. They learn social skills, and can relate to children and adults, and so their self-esteem is higher. They are more likely to be vocal supporters and advocates for their communities, which in turn often means improved hygiene and sanitation in communities, improved governance, and better health and well-being.
Education is the remedy.
A child who cannot go to school risks his health, his happiness, and potentially his life. A child who can go to school is a child who can change the world, starting with his own.
Sponsor a child this holiday season and give a boy or girl an education, and a better life.