This year, my daughter steps into her second year of school, as a senior kindergartener; last year, I was quite nervous as she ventured off to school for the first time. But this year, I know that she is ready to, once again, take on the world of academia. I will still pray fervently each day as she walks through the doors with her purple and blue backpack into a world that exists apart from me. I will still wonder what she actually says and does each day. I will still hope that she loves God and loves others every day to the best of her ability. And I know I will continue to do that for the rest of her life.
As I began having all of these thoughts about how my child is launching into a new school year, a friend sent me something to remind me of the realities of a larger world, and it made me pause. World Vision has just launched a new product experience where you can learn about various causes and real-life stories of people who are impacted by contributions made to World Vision. As a family, you can see how clean water, education, health and nutrition, and livelihood donations make a direct impact on families and whole communities’ lives and well-being. Check it out here.
It was the education piece that caught my eye. There are three stories in it, personal stories, that made me realize some important things:
1. I take school for granted. I think most of us have always had the opportunity to go to school. It would be shocking for us to think of a world where our kids didn't have access to education, and yet that world exists for so many reasons. I read about Christian Dave who aspires to be a pilot, but whose family has had a difficult time paying school fees so he can even attend primary school. He wants to learn. He gets excited about it. And I think that is amazing. He doesn't take school for granted, and his pursuit of education is inspiring. Read more about it here.
2. I take peace for granted. I never have to worry about whether or not my child can attend school because it is safe for her. Honestly, it hasn't even crossed my mind. And then there is Ouday - he is the same age as my daughter, but his life has been significantly different than hers because of a war that has nothing to do with him. Ouday had to flee his home country of Syria, and his family landed in Lebanon. Ouday and others from Syria have a hard time integrating into the education system in Lebanon because, for Lebanese children, school begins at age 3. But thanks to a World Vision partnership, Ouday can learn through an e-learning scenario at a Cyber School. Read more about it here.
3. I take economic security for granted. Okay, so I'll be the first to admit that I have not nor will I probably ever refer to myself as rich. I work in ministry and my husband works in the arts - put them together and we have a combined net income of "getting by", but the reality is that in comparison to how many live in the world, we are rich. We don't need to worry about having to pay for our child's healthcare (thank you, Canada); we don't need to worry about school fees, or where our next meal will come from, or being too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. We are, in reality, comfortable. And so, this article hit me in the gut: Moshin's Book Bag. Moshin was working as a child labourer earning less than 40 cents/week. He actually worked carrying around books that he was unable to read because of his lack of education. Read more about it here.
So this year, and for years to come, I want to remind myself and my family that we shouldn't take these things for granted, and that we need to help those who don't have the same availability to education as we do in North America. I want to invite your family to join me in checking out these World Vision stories, learning more, and connecting across oceans with kids like Ouday, Moshin, and Christian.