– Imagine a School.
To many of you, this sentence may sound downright silly. You don’t have to struggle to imagine school! Most of you have spent at least 18 years of your life going to some form of school.That’s a huuuuge part of your life and it has certainly left a mark on how you think, act and make decisions today.
School has made you push yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of. Sometimes, the school was the epitome of fun, party-until-you-drop time, and sometimes, it brought so much stress and grief when you didn’t really understand what was asked of you. But whatever your memory of school is — the good or bad — you had the choice and chance to go to school.
Millions of children around the world don’t have that chance.
Just thinking about this puts a damper on my day. I am so grateful for the education I received and being the nerd that I am, I keep on wanting to learn more and more. But if I didn’t have this start, this sense of normalcy, protection, safety and care in the school, would I have been able to be the person I am today? I don’t think so.
When my country was bombed in the 90s, I lost half a year worth of school and even then, that was a lot. I had to work really hard in the following years to make up for this. I can’t even imagine what happens when some kids NEVER get to attend school. Their days, instead of being filled with the wonder of learning something new, are filled with gravity and hopelessness. They don’t spend their childhoods with their peers in play and learning — they spend their days working and helping their families bridge yet another awful day.
When conflicts or crisis erupt, the children are the ones that lose the most. Their educational needs are often the last consideration, coming as an afterthought following food, water, shelter, and protection.
And I don’t blame the countries for prioritising like this. I too would put safety, food and shelter first, but unfortunately, once all is said and done, the wars don’t just leave countries in a rumble — they leave entire generations of children and youth lost. Their rights violated, the kids and youth are more prone to being harmed and exposed to threats of trafficking, child labor or child marriage. From a given right in many countries, school all of a sudden becomes something of a dream in others; and a far-fetched one at best.
If you were in the shoes of these kids who never had a chance to attend school, and who throughout their life only witnessed death, suffering, displacement, and loss of rights, would it be hard for you too to Imagine a School?