Want a Better World? Educate the Girls

When I was in Sudan, I met a sweet 12-year-old girl named Hanna. I asked her the same question I ask most kids:  “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Without pausing to think, Hanna said, “A doctor.”  When I asked her why, she said, “Because everyone I know is sick.  Or dead.”

Hanna gets up every morning before dawn so she can get a head start on collecting firewood to sell.  Unfortunately, few in her village have the wherewithal to pay for firewood.  But she does trade the wood for food.  And each week she gives some to the woman down the dirt road in exchange for reading lessons.  That’s as much education as Hanna has.  But it’s way more than any other girl she knows.

Hanna’s mother doesn’t understand her daughter.  She wants her at home gathering and selling firewood.  “We need the food she gets,” she explained.  She also needs Hanna to help care for her three younger brothers.  She cannot see how an educated daughter can be of any help to the family.

But the fact is, education can break the cycle of poverty.  Because for every year a girl attends secondary school, her future earnings are 10 to 20 percent higher.

The very best possible investment for ending poverty?  According to the World Bank, it is educating girls.  So, let’s do it!

“Dream the impossible and go out and make it happen.  I walked on the moon.  What can’t you do?”

~ Astronaut Gene Cernan~


About kaystrom

Kay Marshall Strom, who am I? Well, I’m a traveler, a railer against social injustice, a passionate citizen of the world. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m a 21st century abolitionist who speaks out against slavery of all kinds. I am a beach walker and a gardener and the off-key singer of songs. I’m a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Most people, though, know me as a writer and a speaker. So here is a bit more about that part of my life: Of my 43 published books, seventeen have been translated into foreign languages, and two have been optioned for movies. My writing credits include magazine articles, books for children, short stories, television scripts and two prize-winning screenplays. I love to write, and speak, about topics close to my heart. I speak at seminars, retreats, writer’s conferences, and special events throughout the country. And because I enjoy travel, I even speak on cruise ships. Because I don’t see how a writer can really reflect another people and land without spending time there, I’ve been trekking through India, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Sudan, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt, Japan and South Korea, tape recorder and camera in hand, to gather stories from the world-wide family of God. Thanks to my “virtual friendship” with John Newton, 17th century slave ship captain turned preacher, I traveled through Ireland. In West Africa I toured an old slave fortress off the coast and saw a tiny set of baby manacles bolted to the wall. I was struck dumb. From that horror came a story question, and from that question, my foray into fiction: The Grace in Africa trilogy. Come join me as I travel and rail against injustice. Maybe you will choose to be a 21st century abolitionist too.
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