This is Abraham; He attends one of the elementary schools we sponsor. But he is really only the start of the story. In the words of one of our volunteers: I was tired, I had visited so many schools, I had traveled over 3,000 miles and I had seen crushing poverty all around me and at that moment like so many others I was asking myself if we were making any difference. I was asking God if what we were doing was doing any good. I remember Abraham’s school because it was the last school on our list, it was late in the evening and we were behind schedule as usual. When we got to Abraham’s school we found his teacher Shagrina Kalenga was not at school the school looked abandoned but Abraham said he would take us to Shagrina’s home. He ran down a tiny dirt path and we tried to keep up as we passed up tiny huts the people inside would throw their hands out and wave. Just then a man came running down the path shouting greetings and wearing a huge smile. He told us he was also a teacher and his wife was Shagrina, the teacher on our program. Finally we came to some old buildings with faded paint and missing roofs. Shagrina, her husband and her two babies lived in one of these old buildings. I will never forget that home. I tried to smile and act comfortable as she motioned for me to enter her home. I need to say that the rusted old piled boards heaped up for a wall and the crack in the wood planked floors were nothing compared to the stink. I will never forget that stink. I was getting sick to my stomach sitting there. Shagrina had a baby tied to her back and one sitting in the dirt just out side the door. She smiled a huge smile that was so out of place for the setting. She clung to my arm as she told me how much this job meant to her. She told me she had been waiting for three years to get a job and she and her little family just could not make it on her husbands wages as for many months he was not paid correctly. I wanted to cry the situation was so pathetic but it was her joy that kept me from that. Wouldn’t you know it? That’s when my camera battery died. I got no pictures of Shagrina. Nothing but my story. But God had just answered my prayer, yes what we are doing is huge in the lives of some of his favorite people.
Why Education Is The Solution
About 200 years ago, most civilizations in the world were roughly at the same economic level. Life was short and brutish. Why then did some societies progress while others remained the same (like Zambia)? Most scholars agree, the difference has been education.Due to a lack of funds, the Zambian government can only provide a free education through the seventh grade. Students must then pay tuition and room-and- board to attend a distant boarding school. So only about 8% of students attend high school and. College is even more unaffordable and rare.
Why not more Handouts?Zambian’s don’t want more handouts, they want an education so they can lift themselves up.Every mother in Zambia yearns for her children to have a education and a better life. The students we sponsor want an education more than free food or even money. The sacrifices they are willing to make for an education are staggering. We all know that handouts of food, clothing, or even health care are important aids, but are not long-term solutions. They increase dependency, while promoting low self-esteem and a sense of hopelessness.Education does just the opposite. It builds their confidence and prepares them to be self-reliant.
Even at the most basic levels, education gives people the tools needed to think logically and problem-solve. Education can teach people how to farm effectively, have better health and stop diseases like malaria and AIDS. It will also create opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship, which build the economy