So, why did I choose children’s education as my main target when I decided to make a difference in Africa? I would like to address this question today because, although there are many ways to help, I believe education is one of the highest priorities.
When I first embarked on this mission that has significantly changed my life, I sat down to examine what would be the best way for me to give. The answer came to my mind right away. [The Origin section of this website tells you about that very moment.]
Besides my original inspiration and motivation, experiences since then have solidified this choice for me.
I remember the first time I went to the DRC to explore my options for building a school in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As usual, I wanted to engage with the community members, as it is only in this way that you can truly understand their situation and needs. In the course of chatting with them over some time, I realized a common pattern. I noticed that young people in very rural areas talked mainly about things that had to do with their environment; things that were familiar to them.
However, one very hot and sunny morning, I met a young lady in a very small and remote community. In my best efforts to speak French (very lousy at that time but, hey, I started learning that wonderful language to do all of this), I engaged with her to have a chat.
We started talking while at the same time chewing sugar cane (to fit in, but also I really love sugar cane), I realized that she was somewhat different from the other people I had met before in that area.
She was talking about her future, her expectations in life, her possibilities to earn a living, about how things around her could be changed… and our conversation got deeper and deeper…
What was different about her? I learned she had had the opportunity to study at a proper school and had been helped such that she could continue her studies.
The connection was obvious. Exposure to education and to adequate mental stimulation from an early age is key to the development of individuals.
What I am saying is nothing new, and it’s certainly not rocket science. However, we have a tendency to forget about the source of inequality, and instead, we attempt to treat the resulting symptoms.
According to UNESCO, at least one third of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa cannot read, and an unacceptable percentage of primary aged children are not going to school. The numbers are even worse in war torn countries, inaccessible or very remote areas, and extremely poor regions.
We are all aware that there are other imminent needs, such as food, but my perspective is that education is a long-term strategy. Properly educated children have more chances to develop small economies that, in the end, solve many other problems in the long run, such as poverty alleviation and access to food.
Of course, famine during a specific crisis would be the highest priority at the time, but education as an overall and effective approach, is top of the list to me.
And all of this led to this mzungu (myself) to build a school in DRC and that is what Mzungu Project is all about.
We will return to this topic at another time but meanwhile, feel free to share your thoughts! I want to hear from you.
By the way, Mzungu Project was featured last week on Spanish national TV! you can see it online here. Only in Spanish at the moment but I will post it on this website soon with subtitles.
See you soon!
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