Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Emas Potolani
On March 12, 2016, I pledged through the AIESEC YouthSpeak Initiative (you can make yours right here: https://aiesecmalawi.typeform.com/to/y4iD6a). My pledge is about quality education. To be honest, I was motivated to make this pledge by my pupils in my class and of course at my school.
These kids motivate me so much. Many of them come to school without eating anything at home due to the hunger crisis that has hit my community and many other communities in Malawi. Many of the kids if not all, come to school with very dirty clothes and some come without any writing materials. Yet all of these challenges among the unmentioned ones do not stop these kids from coming to school every week day.
Comrades, these innocent souls keep hoping for a better future. This is what keeps me going and motivates me to stand in the gap and sacrifice all I have in order for the children in my community to be able to attain a brighter future.
Now, as regards to the pledge I made, it is in alignment to the Sustainable Development Goals which were agreed upon by World leaders in Rio last year, 2015. I will not explain much on the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but you can spare some time and read here: http://www.sdgfund.org/mdgs-sdgs.
However, let me highlight that the pledge I made is in line with SDG 4 which talks about ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education as well as the promotion of life-long learning opportunities for all. Yes, “inclusive and equitable quality education as well as promotion of life-long learning opportunities for all.” Now, here is the thing, my standard 3 pupils in the picture below are part of the “ALL” being talked about in the SDG No. 4.
They too indeed rightly deserve quality education. But then how do we make such dream become a reality to the many innocent children who are learning in such unfavorable environments? If you can ask me I will quickly respond by telling you my thoughts that, we should first of all improve these learning environments, construct well-designed classrooms, then give our kids enough learning materials and resources and provide well-trained teachers. Our goal on teachers must not be on quantity but rather quality of the personnel. Providing a well and conducive learning environment will eventually end up encouraging many children from developing countries to stay in school and we are going to narrow and ultimately close the illiteracy gap.
In addition to this, I personally believe that achieving access to education and providing quality education as is the goal of the SDG 4 is an essential catalyst in eradicating poverty in the long run. But then this sounds paradoxical in a way. Imagine this; it is due to high levels of poverty that a lot of children are systematically denied access to education. For instance, families that are unable to provide food and basic resources for their children will make it harder for their children to attain education. Children who come to class with hunger spend much time thinking about food than what is being taught in class.
However, I feel like governments, various Non-Governmental Organizations (Local or international), communities and individuals are obligated to join hands in helping make access to education and quality education available to the people in developing countries like my country Malawi. Instead of heavily investing in fighting hunger, we must all invest in the future of our children. For this is how we are going to deal with the root cause of poverty as we also aim at ending poverty of all forms everywhere according to the SDG No. 1.
I will continue to write, I will continue to be part of the solution, I will continue to help these little children access quality education. Let us join hands as we try to achieve a common goal, a better world for everyone.