39 pens, 23 pencils, and the ability to bring change and peace

I have exactly 39 pens, 23 pencils, and thousands of pieces of paper. I lack very little and live comfortably.  If my classes had no air conditioning or electricity for a month you would be hard pressed to find me there at all.  I live a luxurious life because I go to school with pencils and paper and without fear.  But I think I am in the minority.

One pencil allows a child an education.  An education allows a child to hope for something better.  That hope has the potential to bring about change for their lives, their community, and their country. That is what University of South Florida’s Honors

Packing school supplies during class on jan 24, 2011.

College course “A Pencil Can Bring Peace” is about.  Providing the means of hope and change for Afghan children in a war torn country through supplying them with school supplies.

I hope that every time I use a pencil I am reminded that it is not just something that writes words on paper but an item that writes words in the minds and hearts of the Afghan children that use it.   I also hope that this knowledge is contagious.  While I work throughout this course in organizing a drive to raise awareness and

Afghan boys recieve humanitarian aid including school supplies during a village medical mission in the summer of 2009 (Photo by SMSgt Rex Temple).

supplies for these children I want others to not look at a pencil the same way again, because I know I can’t.  As I was packing the school supplies into the boxes I came to the realization that the items I just touched, the items I take for granted, are about to be shipped to not just a different country and culture but a different world.

I am still in amazement at the fact that the crayons and the colorful rulers that were put in the boxes will soon be opened up and handed out to these children.  My fingerprints and their fingerprints will be on those supplies together.  However easy it is to live blissfully unaware of the hardships in other countries I refuse to.  Despite the fact that I am separated from Afghanistan by over 7,000 miles, national borders, and a vastly different culture my fingerprints are one their way.  And with my fingerprints come a connection that is stronger than cultural, religious, and political differences.  I am a student and they are students. I have opportunity and they deserve the opportunity a pencil can bring.

Afghan boy tries to remove the cap off his new pen during a humanitarian mission in June 2009.

I have 39 pens, 23 pencils, and the ability to bring change and peace in the lives of children in Afghanistan.


About kaciesegovia

My name is Kacie Segovia. I am a student at USF with a double major in psychology and criminology. I have the hopes to attend graduate school to attain a PhD in counseling and development. From there I am interested in building my career around helping at risk children in and out of the country. My ultimate goal is to use my life and opportunities as the means in which children may be provided with the ability to attain an education for themselves in areas where going to school is more a dream than a reality.
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