Education is the key to a better quality life in Malawi. This is especially true for women, particularly the millions of them who are living on the brink of poverty — one illness away from the brink of starvation. Disease such as malaria or HIV Aids. With no job they have lost all hope.
I have seen the cycle of poverty firsthand. As a long time mentor, I have seen teenagers drop out of school to have a child, only to see that same child follow in her mother’s footsteps 16 years later. I have seen men desperate for a job and each working for as little as a $1.25 a day.
For these people, a school or even a college education would be the surest way out of poverty and to break the sad family cycle of poverty. One young woman I knew, kept her sons but her daughters she gave to the orphanage. She could barely feed herself and her sons, but she knew her hope was in her sons getting a job one day and taking care of her when she was older. This has stuck with me for years because it shows just how powerful hope can be in a person’s life, yet also how poverty determines the decisions they will make.
Asked to go to a local village one day, I was deeply saddened when I found out it was a funeral. The young teenage mother could not provide a bus ride for the cost of $1 dollar. Her son had sugar diabetics and so he passed away at the age of less than 2 years old. She herself was a very young mother.
I struggled with the desire to help and save everyone through the programs, yet knew that I couldn’t. I was able to help with the funeral but the determination grew to help in the local village as well. Currently we run a feeding program. I would like to have each of these children sponsored and given funds to those in our program for an education. I know the powerful impact this will have on their futures.
This Board is committed to ensuring that all our students — girls and boys — graduate from high school ready for college or a career, with skill sets that will take them as far as their talent and drive will take them.
Education has never mattered more than it does today. It is the new currency of the global economy. It is absolutely essential for success.
There is an old proverb that says: “If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a family.” One step further in their economy in Malawi I would say is that in today’s economy, if you educate a woman, you strengthen a family and a nation.
My final thoughts would be that in any event an education will give them choices and a hope for a future.
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