We’ve all been watching as parents send their children off to their first day of school. There are plenty of smiling pictures, some with signs indicating their grade and what they hope to become at this age, but there’s one thing that they all have in common. Deep down inside, most of their parents love them and want the best for them.
The school experience, no matter where or in what context, is a common experience for parents. They’re going to place their treasure in the protection, provision, and nurturing of another person. They’re putting them in another environment where other people might not see their value in the same way. Parents must open their hands to trust others.
The school experience is about releasing.
I see parents all over the world who have grand aspirations for their children, but they understand that in order for their daughter or son to become strong and courageous, they have to go through a process. It’s the process of separating their identity from their relationship with their parents. It’s required for growth and development regardless of the geography.
However, there is a big difference.
Even in the less resourced schools in the United States, there are tools, people advocating for better conditions, but those things aren’t always represented in impoverished communities. Parents might long to send their children to school, for them to experience that formative process, but they often don’t know where to start.
Many communities where Food for the Hungry (FH) works, there simply aren’t schools. There are no buildings, no staff, and no infrastructure for education. In many cases, the government won’t support education for a community unless they build classrooms and staff the educators.
My favorite example is from a township area in Kenya where an enthusiastic pastor named Luke, encouraged the people in his community to understand they had power in their hands and choices when it came to the education of their children. There wasn’t a school, but the parents and community gathered and pulled what they did have. Of everyone in the community, there were three people who had a full elementary school education. They became the teachers. He gave them a chance to do something valuable with their time. Then everyone came together to build classrooms brick by brick until they could begin with 10 students.
Six years later, they had a school attendance of over 350 children. They had their first class graduate and pass the state exams for elementary education. Today there are multiple classrooms, wooden benches, slate chalkboards, and tin roofs. The community did this because they knew the power of education for their children and they learned their own power to make that a reality.
Training minds to think deeper.
An education means that our children across all nations are prepared for not only academia but also greater society. It teaches them to be courageous in times of hardships or discomfort. They learn how to cultivate a spirit of observation and embrace the opportunity to grow. You can learn more about FH’s work empowering through education here.