What Education Means in Developing Countries -By Refat Ara Jerin
Refat Ara Jerin is a student at The American University of Rome and our Spring 2011 Aura’s House Intern. She originally comes from Bangladesh.
Our Children ARE Our Future
Coming from a developing country, I have personally felt and experienced the need of literacy. Yet generation after generation, poor children are discriminated against and kept from achieving a brighter future, due to unemployment. So, what I personally think is that, if we can kill unemployment in these developing countries, no one can stop a brighter future ahead of us.
Before I start informing you what education is all about, think for a minute and ask yourself, “Why do we need education?” The answer is very simple, yet difficult. Children, from all over the world are our future generation to lead this world. However, in developing countries such as India and Bangladesh, poor families are unable to send their children to school, give them the proper education, and have a brighter future. Can you imagine that if these children cannot get any education, our future society would become crippled due to our illiterate future generation.
I come from a very small developing country, where we consider ‘education as the backbone of our society.’ In many rural districts of Bangladesh, the literacy rate may be low, but there are facilities in these small towns and villages where children can go to school for free! And yes, that includes books, uniforms, stationery, and scholarships. The government of Bangladesh passed a new law under the Ministry of Education, stating that ALL children must be a High School graduate, free of any charge. When the law was passed recently, young girls and boys couldn’t hide their joy and happiness.
The biggest question that arises is that if these kids have all the opportunity to get free and good education, why are there so many children still NOT going to school? The answer is Poverty and Unemployment! When a girl becomes a teen, they are normally forced to leave school and learn to work with their mothers, or work at people’s houses, or worse, get married at such an early age. It is not only girls, but when a boy reaches his early teens; they must quit school and start working in order to help their fathers to feed the family. As they would say, “An extra hand never hurts!” From my own personal experience, while I was living in Dhaka, the capital, I met a very young boy, in his mid teens, pulling a rickshaw. My curiosity kicked in, and I asked him for a reason for not attending school, with all the opportunities offered. He answered, “My father works all day, but by the end of the day the money he earns is not enough to feed my family, so I work. I know my numbers, so that’s all I need to earn money and help my family.” A little boy with such painful words touched my heart.
Refat and our student volunteers, Claire Moskowitz and Dorothy Brown will soon be hosting a bake sale at The American University of Rome to benefit our India Tuition Project. Stay tuned for details and photos.
If you would like to make a small contribution to this project, please do so here. 100% of your gift will help send a needy child to school and is US tax deductible. Thank you as always for your help on behalf of needy children and their families!