Education makes a Difference

13 Apr 2021

In many of the communities where cross-cultural workers serve, the people who are spiritually poor are also often economically poor. In most cases, people in poverty need a helping hand to get out of this cycle that has kept them that way for generations and education is one of the most significant things that impacts a person’s choices in life. The lack of opportunity for a decent education is not just about the absence of schools or school buildings. Even when children do go to school, parents who have not been educated themselves will not be able to help their children. For others, parents have to be convinced that the investment in their children’s education will actually make a difference.

Mary and Ming were two children from two different families who were part of our child sponsorship program. They both lived in the urban slums of the megacity we served in and we got to know them when they started to attend our literacy centre, and their parents also received pregnant goats in our goat giving program.

When we first met them, neither of Mary or Ming had ever been to school and the literacy centre enabled them to gain some simple reading, writing and arithmetic skills. This is turn enabled then to make the transition into the local school (each in a class with more than 70 other children!). Later on, with the help of a child sponsorship from our charity trust, they were able to enrol in another school which would give them an English medium education. Children who have some fluency in English as well as their national language will have much better employment opportunities in the future.

Ming’s parents were always very excited that he was getting some help with his education. Mary’s parents however, had to be convinced that it was necessary to educate their daughters. The traditional mindsets still believed that it was not absolutely necessary and but they were also keen for Mary to help them in their small business. They reluctantly allowed Mary to attend school and it was only after some years that they were convinced that Mary’s education was a good thing.

About a year after Mary and Ming started in their new school, there was a writing competition and all the children in their year were asked to write about what they would like to be when they grow up. Mary wrote that she wanted to be a teacher so that she could help children like herself who had not had the opportunity to go to school. Ming wrote that he wanted to be a pastor of a church. When we were told about their essay topics, it was a touching recognition of the gratitude that they had in their hearts and their desire to make full use of the opportunities they have been given to help others in the future. It was an extra special ending to the story when both Mary and Ming won prizes in the writing competition for their essays. When serving the poor, the transformation of lives is a long-term task that is not achieved in a year or two.

-A Pioneers worker serving in Asia.

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