School’s produce graduates, children and youth better equipped to succeed. It might be a step for them to the next grade or a job; it could even be a stepping stone to a degree or advanced degree. Whatever the grade level the individual has completed more education will generally give a better collection of education and tools for that person to succeed more in life than without an education; a generalization yes, but for the most part absolutely a truism.
In the developed areas like the USA it is a given, kids go to school and get an education through high school. However in many places in the world access to free K-12 educational the desired state. In the developing countries many see education as a luxury or even a dream. I think it’s a small percentage of our kids here in the USA that dream about school.
Of course as it remains a fact that in some places ‘even today’ on this blue marble, education is not a right it is a privilege. Unfortunately education in the US is a hot current topic, what class size, what schedule, what core groups, Christian or non-Christian, block schedule or period schedule.
Sometimes you hear people say “if we could get everyone educated then poverty would disappear.” There are many ideas on poverty and many opinions about why some people who continue to live by choice or not. In economically deprived or war torn areas where education is still in the local common people’s reality an item, “for the others.” This is a huge topic and I will not open the door further on it however I will say that a child in the US with a solid quality K-12 education should be poised to make much better life decisions for themselves than a non-educated person. My point being that our kids have education through the local school as a right not a privilege. What happens with this right is not a definable outcome however it is generally a more positive outcome than without government funded education.
What do you do if there is no school, where there are no laws that guarantee children’s rights to education? Well; sometimes it is an easy fix; motivated teachers in Africa sometimes teach under a tree, in Timor teachers volunteered and taught in ruins with no roof, in the Philippines school is “free” but school fees are required for the most part and this excludes the poor. Others might use a church or assembly hall to teach. Sometimes though there needs to be a physical school, perhaps for more than educations sake perhaps to help build up a community.
It is my opinion that a Church or a school is a great place to start if you must anchor a community for development; with the right partners and the right local community eventually a school is on the menu because it will produce graduates; it’s is not a necessity but adds to the institutions and the local community’s legitimacy.
So how is a school born where no government can assist but the need is real? In Infanta Quezon, the Philippines we had one such case. About a week before the huge Indonesian tsunami, Infanta Quezon was devistated by one of the worst mudslides in history; then it was the center of the world news and over 180 international organizations were on site. Star of Hope had been in the area for a long time previously and we ended up building about 400 houses and apartments (Philippine style) and one area that received houses was Infanta. Of course we have built many schools and churches since then but this one was special to me as it helped develop the community and gave birth to micro business and citizens’ rights and much more as the community was well on the way to being a developing community.
The condensed version of how and why is this, after we built the housing complex we had many preschoolers who had no school and many of the older kids had to walk miles through mud and farm land to get to the nearest school if they could afford school that is.
The Manager for the Philippines Gani Corunia and for Quezon pastor Ben Mergano told Star of Hope, of the problem and wanted to build a school on site to give quality education in a close proximity. It was a go on all fronts and we decided to build the school a bit at a time, in sections, starting with preschoolers and then first grade rooms would be built and so on. The donors of Star of Hope are lucky to be able to say; "we did this", and we have changed lives!
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