Why It Matters

Education is a human right.

 

No Way Out

Imagine being left in a box, a dark, sealed box with no means of escape.  You had just barely enough to keep you alive in way of oxygen and nourishment and that was it.  How long could you stay there?  How long would you want to stay there?

 

Lack of education and crippling poverty most often go hand in hand, they are wicked friends who hold so many captive throughout their lives.  Snatching opportunities to move beyond mere existence, the lack of resources for much of the world has keep generations in boxes of despair.

Education in History

Education is as old as time.  The process of passing skills on to the next generation, mentoring, apprenticing, inspiring discoveries is what makes us human.  Without education and the freedom to apply what is learned, our history would be very bleak.  Discoveries would not be made. Hypothesis would not be tested. Improvements would not be pursued. The edge of mere existence would be the fate of all.

 

The hallmark of a civilization is the accumulation and perpetuation of knowledge.  Civilized societies create languages, and a written system to record them.  Understanding of mathematics leads the way to an economy and commerce.  Our world has moved continually toward a deeper understanding and higher level of thinking, except for those who for socioeconomic reasons have been stripped of their rights to a civilized existence.

 

Education is not merely attending school, but being given the resources to move beyond surviving to thriving.  In the world of ultra-poverty, of complete devastation devoid of any resources, an education is an impossibility.

 

Opening the Trap

An opportunity to learn and grow not only enriches a life, but gives a person the means to live it.  The poorest of the poor do not only need more food, they need the know how to find and earn quality food.  More than their physical needs, their minds need to be fed to allow for thought, wonder, ingenuity, and reason.  Just as a body must be trained to perform athletically, a mind must be shaped and nurtured to perform on a higher academic plane.

 

Providing resources and opportunity for the world’s poor to be educated benefits the entire world as it is an investment in our collective future. That investment will pay off in dividends of cleaner environments, safer childhoods, healthier communities, problems solved, inventions created, conflicts settled, and stable families established.

 

Education of today’s children provides the means for them to provide sustenance, shelter, and stability to the children of tomorrow.  As One Planet, One People, it is paramount that we come together to build up cultures of learning through access to educational resources that build hope.

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Mary's Meals

Mary’s Meals

A Nickel’s Worth

What can you do with a nickel?  Could you change the future?  Could you build bridges?  Could you save lives and fuel dreams? You can if that nickel finds its way to a Mary’s Meals collection campaign.

 

Founded on the principle that food+school=hope, Mary’s Meals feeds over a million children each day and has revolutionized the war on hunger.  The concept is so easy, anyone, including young children, can make a difference.

 

How Mary’s Meals Works

In 2002, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder of Mary’s Meals, was on a service trip to Malawi.  There he met a young boy named Edward.  Edward’s one life wish was to have enough to eat and go to school. Out of this request, the idea of Mary’s Meals was born.

 

Inspired by the words of Mother Teresa, “If you can’t feed one hundred children, just feed one.” Magnus set out to feed children one good meal a day at a place of education, thus feeding their bodies and minds.  Soon he was feeding 200 children a day in Malawi with 93% of all donations going directly to feeding children.

 

The simple porridge, Likuni Phala, is served in large plastic mugs to the children each day. The mugs are so prized that many children wear them on strings hung around their necks so as not to lose them.  This simple blend of ingredients is prepared in a dedicated kitchen built at the school by Mary’s Meals

 

All of the kitchens are staffed by local volunteers and supplied with local goods to create a simple, but highly nutritious porridge for the students of the school where the kitchen is housed. Using local sources keeps the cost of feeding down while investing in the community.  By coming to school, the children receive life saving food, and a life altering education.

 

The Little School with Big Dreams

In 2014, a small, Catholic school in New York embarked on a mission to build a Mary’s Meals kitchen in Malawi.  Inspired by the movie Child 31, the students held nickel drives and fundraisers.  In just four months, they raised the $11,500 to build a kitchen at Dzungwi school, Malawi but it didn’t stop there.

 

Mary’s Meals became such a part of the school’s culture that a Mary’s Meals club was born.

Throughout the year, the children meet dressed in their signature blue Mary’s Meals shirts to sort and count the money raised each month to feed keep the kitchen running.  As part of the club, students learn more about their sister school in Malawi, exchange letters, videos, and photos; and even learn to play the same games that entertain their faraway friends.

 

Last year, St. Stephen St Edwards School raised over $20,000 by collecting deposit cans and bottles, holding nickel drives, selling popcorn each Wednesday, selling giftware, and more.  Through their efforts, a second kitchen was adopted in Liberia that is now fully funded by the club.

Building Bridges One Nickel at a Time

The Mary’s Meals Club has built a bridge for children in a semi-rural town to learn and grow.  Their worldview has expanded, and their connection to others on the opposite side of the world has solidified.  The efforts of serving and understanding have benefited the children in the club as well as those they fundraise to feed. Likewise, the simple meals that are being provided in two countries thanks to this club are building bridges to the bright futures for the recipient children.

 

This is what One Planet, One People is all about.  Journeying together in hope and knowledge to a promising future.  Building a bridge isn’t hard.  Just start one brick at a time, one child at a time.  Inspiring youth to serve others and support global education is one of the greatest lessons we can offer.

 

St Stephen-St Edward school has not just found a hobby, it has discovered its mission.  It is currently one of the largest and longest running fundraising campaigns for Mary’s Meals in the world.  It all started with a simple idea, let’s help bring hope to a child in need.

 

How are you spreading the light of education to the world?  Be the spark that chases the dark. Help those most in need and build a bridge to a better world!

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Overcoming Obstacles

NELSON MANDELA

Overcoming Educational Obstacles

 

Many of us are lucky to have had the biggest obstacle to our education be ourselves. There was a time that this wasn’t the norm. For much of human history, we have had to overcome significant obstacles to obtain knowledge. In the US, many have heard the “I had to walk five miles uphill to get to school”. Perhaps, our grandparents were trying to impress upon us the gift that our ease of education is. There are still parts of the world that haven’t knocked down as many of these obstacles though. Places that educate based on some factor that the individual has no control over. Places where war has prevented education from being a safe thing, as shown in this article.

Admittedly, this is old information, but the concept that in 2016 WAR was what prevents children from receiving an education is heartbreaking to say the least. Not enough has changed to make that untrue in 2017. Education, which we firmly believe builds a bridge for children to access a better future, should be available to all people. Nelson Mandela emphasized the importance of distance education to overcoming obstacles in South Africa and the same is true all over the world. You can listen to his speech here.

 

Today, there are opportunities for children in primary and secondary schools to learn via distance education. Additionally, schools around the world offer distance education options. This opens the door for those who are homebound, unable to travel great distances or unable to handle the stress or stimulation from a traditional education to overcome and achieve their educational goals. Nelson Mandela recognized this two decades ago but as a people, we are just beginning to fully embrace it. If we could provide distance education options (even books for them to learn at their own pace from) to the South Sudanese children mentioned above, we would be opening them to a whole new world. Hopefully, that would be their bridge to a better future.

 

Organizations like War Child, support mothers and children in war torn countries. One of the most important ways is to educate them. This way, they can read the important signs…

Danger – Landmines

Putting it in perspective, no obstacle I have met is half as hard as a child in Sudan. It’s time to build bridges and share with those around us the ways we have found that help us overcome our educational obstacles.

How do you overcome obstacles? Feel free to suggest a distance education provider!

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Why One Planet, One People

Why is our theme One Planet, One People?  The answer is simple yet very complex.  We are all on the same journey around the sun each day.  As the planet spins beneath our feet, our lives continue in regular rhythms that are so alike, despite our appeared differences.

 

Learning is the tie that binds us together, to our past and to our future.  Lessons that will ensure survival, break down walls, and build up rubble.  Our understanding of history, as well as science, and math, is essential to fixing all the problems that plague our modern society.

 

The ability to effectively communicate and problem solve, born of a good education that is rooted in quality literature, creative thinking, innovative exploration, and the arts, both practical and fine, is the mortar that will bridge the gap over what divides us.  Through a pursuit of lifelong education, we each contribute to making changes for the positive on this planet of ours.

 

One Planet, One People is not just our motto, it is our reality.  Do you want to see a better tomorrow?  Invest in understanding the “why” of our present age and then innovate a “how” to fix it.  We all share a common history and the unifying desire to make a difference. Help us expand this desire, your participation and presentations are an integral part of our mission.

 

One Planet, One People is a double sided call to action.  It first asks you to consider what you must study to open your own mind to possibilities, not yet thought, to improve our blue home. Secondly, it begs you to reach beyond your own little world and unite, to greater understand your neighbor, and to carry the torch of freedom born of knowledge to the far corners of the world.

 

This is the mission of Global Learn Day, to reach and to teach.  Not just on October 7th, but every trip around the sun.  It is our hope that this voyage will inspire every passenger to dive deeper into his own self improvement and help the tide to rise all ships that all may get to learn. Join us for our voyage!

What do you think when you are One Planet, One People?

 

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Education Across Borders

Education Across Borders

Education is the key to breaking free from poverty. It provides the means necessary to rise above circumstances and make a better start for the future.  Knowledge is power and millions of children are left powerless through a lack of educational opportunities.

 

At the same time, where education abounds, it is important to remember to educate the entire person.  Memorizing facts alone is not what helps to create leaders and innovators.  Children need inspiration. They need to move outside their comfort zone and be able to work on a team.  However, the greatest skill that children must learn, if we want a brighter tomorrow, is compassion.

 

Education Across Borders (EAB) serves some of the poorest people of the world.  Centered in the coffee farming region of the Dominican Republic, EAB is working to change the lives of those who so desperately need hope for the future. Their greatest asset, though, is that they teach the lessons of empathy, multiculturalism, and hard work to American students and adults in the process of improving lives in Dominican Republic.

 

EAB’s primary focus is education and community building.  Through projects that provide sanitation, scholarships and greater access to education, and adequate housing, EAB has been serving the areas of Batey Libertad and Franco Bido for 20 years.

 

In the Dominican Republic, 42% of the population lives in poverty and only 10% of children graduate from high school. Yet, it is an area ripe for the best educational experience for groups of young people.  Through the Immersion Program, groups of teens and young adults perform short term service projects that have lasting results.

 

The Pentecost Project immerses participants in the realities of poverty and teaches them how to work together with community members to fill dire needs.  The futures of both residents and immersion volunteers are forever changed as the projects provide housing, sanitation, and health care.  The greater gift is “the hope of conscientization: developing the critical consciousness (of self, and of local and global communities) to understand the roots of injustice and oppression, in all forms, as well as the ability to convert compassion into action for the common good.”

 

EAB is not only building bridges between American teens and Dominican residents in the communities they visit.  A flip side of the education is the Community Exchange program that brings scholarship winners from both Batey Libertad and Franco Bido together to experience each other’s towns.  Though these two towns are not geographically distant, this trip is far reaching in scope.

 

Scholarship winners have the opportunity to integrate, understand each other, and bridge gaps between the poor coffee farmers and the children of Haitian workers seeking a better life.  The barriers of misunderstanding and marginalization are being toppled as the rising leaders of these regions learn to overcome discrimination.

Education Across Borders is at the head of the class for mitigating positive change in the world.  There is much to be learned from their models and practices that teach best through working hands and open hearts.  The epitomy of “One People, One Planet.”

 

Have you ever worked beyond your comfort zone to help in a culture much different than your own?  How did this experience better prepare you for your future?

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