Promoting quality education for all.

All the World’s Children Need Education

June 23, 2010

Source: Hartford Courant

By Erin DeRoy

The World Cup, including the ringing of the vuvuzela horns in our ears, is here. And, off the playing fields of South Africa, organizers of the the 2010 FIFA World Cup are trying to use the attention and energy their event has generated to help put children in school. They have joined the 1GOAL initiative, a critical global campaign to make sure all of the world's children get an education.

The idea is to bring together the influence of soccer players and fans, as well as charities and organizations, to call on world leaders to make education a reality for all children by 2015.

A bill before Congress, The Education for All Act of 2010, would add a significant boost to this international campaign. The legislation urges the United States to provide the resources and leadership needed to ensure a successful international effort in providing all children with a basic quality education. I urge my congressman, Rep. John Larson, D-East Hartford — a man who understands the power and potential of education — to co-sponsor this important legislation.

I am an avid volunteer and advocate for children, and I know we all have an impact on educating our world's children. Two summers ago, I traveled to Ecuador and worked in an underprivileged and impoverished community. As a volunteer, I focused on the betterment of children through education — educating some children who had never been to school.

The tremendous effort each child made to attend class was powerful evidence that they valued education and wanted to learn — regardless of the distance to school, exhaustion due to malnutrition or poor school quality. Sadly, children's longing will not always give them the education they dream of receiving. Children need resources, support and, this year, implementation of the Education for All Act to get the assistance they need to pursue their dream of learning.

Globally, there are 72 million children between the ages 5 and 11 who are not in school. These children are faced with a vast array of unfortunate obstacles that inhibit their ability to receive a quality education. Nevertheless, every child needs and deserves an education to see a brighter future for themselves and their families. All villages, communities and countries need educated citizens to ensure a prosperous, healthy and vibrant future.

Education is one of the best ways of helping children grow up safe, healthy and prepared to lift their communities out of poverty. A quality education expands employment opportunities and gives people a chance to earn higher wages. Education, particularly for girls, also leads to better health outcomes for children, adults and families. In addition, education can lower the risk of conflict for a country, which creates a safer world for us all.

In the words of 1GOAL's co-chairman, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, "Education is the engine through which development can be powered, both for the individual in opening up new opportunities as well as for countries seeking to move out of the fierce grip of poverty. This year's World Cup in South Africa provides a platform to deliver a lasting legacy that will last for generations."

Erin DeRoy, 21 of Cromwell, is a senior, majoring in international affairs at the George Washington University and is an intern at Global Action for Children in Washington.

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Education: Progress Before Partisanship

May 21, 2010

Source: The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)

By Stacy Carkonen, Sumner, WA

Re: "Education and access needed" (letter, 5-20).

I couldn’t agree more with this letter about global education. The good news is there is a lot happening right now.

While members of Congress dig their heels in on the media-grabbing issues of the day and seemingly refuse to see eye to eye on anything, quietly, behind not-so-closed doors, members of Congress are working together and making progress.

This past month, two Washington state members of Congress did the impossible by not only supporting, but leading on the global Education for All Act of 2010 – Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn) as the lead Republican sponsor and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma, as an original co-sponsoring Democrat.

Both of these congressmen understand that the key to the long-term security and economic progress of the U.S. is indeed directly tied to the education level and economic well-being of countries worldwide.

Failed states, refugees from civil conflicts and bad governance all have implications on our many national interests around the world. This is not simply altruism it is pragmatism about the future of our own security and progress here at home. Education is not just the key to a brighter future for our children; it is the key to a brighter future for all children and all countries.

I applaud our congressmen for putting progress ahead of partisanship.

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NYT Op-Ed: Celebrate: Save a Mother

May 8, 2010

Source: New York Times

By Nicholas Kristof

Happy Mother’s Day! And let me be clear: I’m in favor of flowers, lavish brunches, and every other token of gratitude for mothers and other goddesses.

Let me also add that your mom — yes, I’m speaking to you — is particularly deserving. (As is mine, as is my wife. And my mother-in-law!)

And because so many people feel that way, some $14 billion will be spent in the United States for Mother’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation. That includes $2.9 billion in meals, $2.5 billion in jewelry and $1.9 billion in flowers.

To put that sum in context, it’s enough to pay for a primary school education for all 60 million girls around the world who aren’t attending school. That would pretty much end female illiteracy.

These numbers are fuzzy and uncertain, but it appears that there would be enough money left over for programs to reduce deaths in childbirth by about three-quarters, saving perhaps 260,000 women’s lives a year.

There would probably even be enough remaining to treat tens of thousands of young women suffering from one of the most terrible things that can happen to a person, a childbirth injury called an obstetric fistula. Fistulas leave women incontinent and dribbling wastes, turning them into pariahs — and the injuries are usually fixable with a $450 operation.

So let’s celebrate Mother’s Day with all the flowers and brunches we can muster: no reason to feel guilty about a dollop of hedonism to compensate for 365 days of maternal toil. But let’s also think about moving the apostrophe so that it becomes not just Mother’s Day, honoring a single mother, but Mothers’ Day — an occasion to try to help other mothers around the globe as well.

Oddly, for a culture that celebrates motherhood, we’ve never been particularly interested in maternal health. The United States ranks 41st in the world in maternal mortality, according to an Amnesty International report, or 37th according to a major new study in the medical journal The Lancet, using different data sources.

Using either set of statistics, an American woman is at least twice as likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth as a woman in much of Europe.

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