School. Sometimes waking up, packing lunches, and making sure that homework is completed can seem like it’s a grind for everyone in the family but what would life be like if your kids couldn’t go to school? What if there weren’t schools where you lived or the cost to attend was astronomical compared to your monthly income? In the United States we’re lucky to have a public education system that, even if it may not be the best where you live, it exists for the benefit of our children. The idea of days without school and the opportunity to further educate our kids is almost impossible to imagine because our kids attend school for a majority of the calendar year.
Education is a luxury that we often take for granted here in the United States. As my grandfather was fond of saying, once you have an education, it’s something that no one can ever take away from you but unfortunately we don’t live in a world where everyone has an opportunity to go to school.
As the daughter of a teacher, a former teacher myself, and a parent of two school aged kids, the idea that education is something that kids around the world lack strikes me in the gut every time I make a trip to Haiti. Driving along the streets in the capital city of Port au Prince in the luxury of our air conditioned bus in the mornings, it’s hard to not notice the kids. It’s always easy to tell who is going to school and who is not.
There are girls in crisp ironed skirts or gingham jumpers, all with color coordinated wide satiny ribbons tied in their hair. The boys wear khakis or navy slacks with their button down shirts and carry books in messenger bags or backpacks. They are learning French, and maybe English, because their parents can afford to pay tuition that rivals the cost of private schools here in the United States.
How do families afford tuition in Haiti?
Companies like Artisan Business Network, TOMS, Global Goods Partners, and Tribe Alive have created jobs through the creation of artisan goods that provide employment and sustainable income through trade not aid programs. These artists earn fair wages for their work that allow parents to send their kids to school.
Trade not aid programs are important sources of income because public education simply doesn’t exist in Haiti. The $5 a day that most other parents make will never allow them to send a child to school when there are other expenses that take priority over the cost of tuition, required uniforms, and school books.
Sadly, this is true all over the world where schools don’t exist or education is simply out of reach because of cost, distance, and a family needing to put their kids to work to ensure basic needs are met first. But like we always heard from Schoolhouse Rock, “knowledge is power.” Educated kids have the opportunity to make a difference in their families, communities, and on a global scale.
So let’s change this. Beginning now.
The United Nations wants to help rid the world of extreme poverty, provide an equal education for girls and boys, and protect our environment for generations to come. Since equal access to quality education is a priority for the United Nations, it is included as one of the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development that will be officially adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit. From September 25-27, 2015 world leaders will assemble at the United Nations in New York City and will commit to providing education as one of the 17 Global Goals that will be the focus for the next 15 years.
Global Goals follow on the heels of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were issued in 2000. Thanks to the MDGs and progress made over the last 15 years, 43 million more kids went to school, HIV infections were reduced by 40%, 2 billion more people received access to clean drinking water, and extreme poverty has been cut in half.
But it’s not enough. We need to do more because we’re only halfway there.
Why stop half way? Why make a half-assed effort when so many more need our help?
Called the blueprint for the future, these Global Goals are going to be the priority for the next 15 years. They serve as a sustainable way end extreme poverty, fight inequality and justice, and fix climate change in all countries for all people by 2030.
2030. 15 years. 17 things to do. We can do this!
I hope you will join me to learn more about the importance of worldwide education and the other 16 Global Goals that are so important for our future as we look to end extreme poverty around the world.
For more information:
- Watch the hashtags #GlobalGoods and #sustainabledevelopment
- Follow the United Nations and The Global Goals on Twitter @UN & @TheGlobalGoals
- Like Global Goals on Facebook
- Follow the Global Goals Instagram feed
- Take a Global Goals selfie to spread awareness
- Share these free lesson plans with your child’s teachers as we work together to achieve global goals. Lessons are age appropriate and range from requiring 30-60 minutes of time. They’re also great for a Girl Scout or Boy Scout troop and any other after school activity or club! The more who know about the Global Goals, the better!
- And watch the video below to learn how you can get involved because the Global Goals are so very important because although 15 years may seem like a lifetime, we’ve got some work to do that will be so much easier if we all pitch in to help!
This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.