It’s unthinkable that in the year 2021 there are 265 million children unable to attend school. Even worse, over 600 million children are illiterate and have trouble doing basic maths. These statistics, provided by the United Nations for today’s International Day of Education, serve as a serious reminder of the work that we adults have left to do …
Research suggests that education reduces crime and promotes better health, because those educated have greater understanding of the world around them, and better opportunities for employment. A higher socio-economic status achieved by steady employment often results in healthier, happier people, which ultimately promotes a more peaceful society. It’s in our best interest for humanity to make education a priority.
At The White Feather Foundation, one of our focused Areas of Giving is Education and Health. We have several charity partners who deliver on both, such as Studio Samuel, The Nevada Building Hope Foundation and Cura Orphanage
I established the Cynthia Lennon Scholarship for Girls following the passing of my Mum in 2015, to help girls who face tougher challenges getting an education than their male counterparts. Since then we’ve awarded 35 scholarships to students across Africa and continue to celebrate their success.
Earlier this month, we expanded the scholarship to include female art students at a high school or college level in the U.S. Applications for this scholarship are open until March 17. Students who want to apply, and those who would like to donate funds to the scholarship, can do so at bold.org.
In addition, we have an active campaign to help Build a Nursery School in Zambia with our partners at Mothers of Africa. They are scheduled to break ground later this spring and very much need our support to help make that happen.
Of course education isn’t just found in schools. I’ve often talked about the ‘journeys’ I took as a child when my Mother or Grandmother would read me stories from favourite books. The love and nurturing with which they were delivered only made their impact on my young mind more vivid.
When my co-author Bart Davis and I wrote the Touch the Earth trilogy, I often thought of those warm memories and how important they were in shaping my early perceptions of the world. I hope our books do the same, bonding young generations with their parents and caregivers, and inspiring them to start conversations amongst each other about the trilogy’s environmental themes.
A less conventional education comes from experiencing cultures outside of our own. I’ve always learned a great deal from my travels—meeting people from other countries, absorbing the sound of different languages and often indulging in the cuisine of the locale.
While it may be difficult to travel in the present state of the world, photography, books, television, music and films can serve as a window to places inaccessible to us. There is a great escape to be found in art that resides outside our comfort zone.
We must also remember to harness the environmental education offered to us by the wisdom of our Indigenous tribes. Their knowledge of how to respect and cultivate nature, passed down from generation to generation, is invaluable to the health of our planet and of ourselves.
When the younger generations combine a solid foundation of traditional learning with a greater understanding of the beliefs and customs of people in faraway places, the future will only get brighter.
Together, we must help them get there.