Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Making me really think here....

I have been following along with some journeys through 30 Days of Nothing at Intent. How powerful it is.

While we are not actively participating and posting about it we have been having lots of REALLY great conversations about what we can do to streamline our budget and what we can do that will actually make a difference in the world. How can we really help others around the world and/or here at home? How much is enough? Will it ever be enough? Why would God let a child be born just to let it starve months later? Maybe so those of us who have the means can help out? How can we raise our children mindfully so that they have a great childhood but also a keen sense of awareness of the world and others in different circumstances? These are just some of the topics we've discussed so far.

Along the same lines, last night I watched a show on PBS that I've never seen before called Wide Angle the topic of which was Back to School. It followed 7 children in different countries, their first visit was in 2003 and now they were "checking up" on them earlier in 2006.

An estimated 110 million children -- 60 percent of them girls -- between the ages of six and 11 will not see the inside of a classroom this year. Another 150 million are likely to drop out before completing primary school.

This show was very touching and I don't know what I was expecting but it really shocked me. Five of the children lived in very poor situations. A girl from Romania who was a success story had to commute 45 minutes on public transportation at age 7 to get to school since both parents worked and couldn't afford day care. Much has changed in Romania since it is no longer under communist rule and their schooling has gone through many changes.

One from Benin is the only girl from her family who is permitted to go to school and pressure for her to stay home is greater now that her father has past away. Her Mother really had to scrape just to afford her school supplies and chalk.

A boy from Brazil lives in a "shanty town" but against the odds is at the top of his class so his mother has great hopes for him to get out of their crime ridden neighborhood. A girl from Afghanistan is in 6th grade which is a great accomplishment since 74% of girls drop out by 5th grade in her country. She only goes to school in the afternoon because of a shortage of teachers and she is the oldest girl living at home so her mornings are filled with chores and helping with younger siblings which doesn’t leave much time for studying. A boy in Kenya deals with the death of his Mother and drops out of school for a few weeks when he is talked into coming back to his class of 92 students. In Kenya if a parent gets sick and dies everyone assumes it's AIDS so even this boy’s friends shunned him.

It really just tugs on my heartstrings the work that these children have to do just to get an education. It is so important for these kids to learn. One of the girls learned in school (I think the one from Afghanistan) about cleanliness and personal hygiene, they then showed her with younger siblings washing their hands. How important is just that little piece of knowledge on her whole family. She also was shown teaching a bunch of other kids the English alphabet.

Anyway, I don't know if I have a point or if I'm just going to ramble all night but I am just still in awe about the drive of these kids as I think about even my own schooling - complaining about teachers, bus rides and English class. How lucky I am to have received so much education and how lucky that I only had a 20 min bus ride and only 20 or so kids in my classes and not such a worry about disease or political unrest. By goodness I'm so grateful it's amazing. But I'm also so amazed by all the others around the world and full of wonder with what I can do to help them.

I'd like to put a button on my sidebar that links to this website but do I have to get their permission or does any one know how I can do that? Thanks for helping my semi new to the rules and ways of blogging self!


owlhaven said...

Heidi, I saw that show too-- actually we watched it with our big kids. Did you see the little girl that balanced a pot of water on her head while picking up her little brother??

I am sure that would love it if you linked to them on your sidebar...there's no reason why you shouldn't


Anonymous said...

We really are so pampered here. I envy parts of their lives really. I can't say I'd want to trade places, but there is something to be said for working hard to get things. And about not having much and depending on the Lord to provide. I would like to see that show!

Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood

The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

If you're a member or sponsor or whatever to that site, doubt they mind that you link to them. I have World Vision linked on my blog. I sponsor kids through World Vision and Compassion. I think as far as those countries are concerned the only thing we can do is to sponsor them through these organizations...becuase of their governments, it's not easy to get food and water, school supplies and whatever in to them. It makes me soo sad for these kids.

Also, I don't know about that site, but World vision and Compassion both have programs where you can volunteer your time going around to other churches, or even having "parties" in your own home to get more people aware of the need. You should look into something like that.