Mirabilis.ca linked to an article at the BBC entitled, The ‘youngest headmaster in the world’ , in which they feature the heroic efforts of a 16 year old young man to educate the rural poor in his village in West Bengal.
A mainstay of any democratic country is education for all. The idea of a free public education is a recent one, started by reformers in the US and UK in the late 1700s and enacted on a large scale in the mid-1800s to early 1900s. Many would argue that the success of Western industrial democracies in the last 150 years is built on the availability of free public education that a large majority of folks receive up to the 12th grade (6th form in the UK) who are then empowered regardless of class to participate in the economy and growth of their societies.
I am the 16th generation of women on my maternal line who could read & write (yes, Susannah Stone of Framingham, MA could at least read & write at the remedial level at the time of her marriage in the 1670s per the common practice of the Puritans to educate all to read the Bible). I am the 10th generation of women on my maternal line to graduate with a high school diploma (Mary Bancroft Dana of Cambridge, MA finished the 1770s version of high school). I am the 8th generation of women on my maternal line to attend and graduate from college (Mary Bancroft Dana not only was an Abolitionist but she also encouraged her daughers and granddaughters education from an early age).
I was expected to finish college. In fact, there was an expectation that I would have a Ph.D by now. Sorry, I just have an M.Sc in Comp Sci, I guess I better get hopping on the Ph.D.
When I was in college I supported a young Tamil girl to attend school through Compassion International, who after the Compassion involvement in her life went on to university and now lives in the Seattle area working for a technology firm. I have several reservations about supporting a child through Compassion of which the greatest was after all the years of paying one’s monthly amount and writing letters one was just cut off when the child turned 18. I found this to be very upsetting and wanted to continue to send money for the young woman to attend university, but instead Compassion automatically assigned a new child to me. After trying to deal at the time with Compassion’s bureaucracy, I gave up and quit.
I quit until I received an email a couple of years ago from the former Compassion young lady who asked if I was the same Jenifer who supported her through school and let me know what she had been up to since. I cried. I was so glad that she went on to university. I was so glad that she and her husband were living in Seattle working in technology and having a good life adventure.
Today’s link to the young Bengali man conducting an after school school for the impoverished young people of his village who can’t afford to go to school really hit me about how much I value education and where without all the baggage of a ministry like Compassion could I send monthly support to send young folk, particularly support a young woman, to fulfill their educational dreams.
I googled “send a child to school” and found several charities that are helping support young people to attend school – from GlobalGiving’s “Education in India” to a much more home grown effort.
Do you have a recommendation on a good charity to help support the education of an individual child? Who do you trust? If so, please comment and let us know.