Education: The Fantasy of an Afghan Child

 

Photo courtesy: www1.essence.com

The availability of education is something most of us, as Americans, take for granted. We have all had our share of days that when we did not want to get out of bed in the morning, when we would rather sleep in than attend school. Attending school is more of a chore than anything else in our minds. This is just something we are all accustomed to, going to school each weekday since we were

Photo courtesy: moappp.org

children. We rarely give a thought to how fortunate we are to live in a country where an education is readily available and provided for us. We have easy access to materials such as books, paper, and writing utensils. In terms of the availability of our education, we have it good.

 

However, one only has to look outside of our borders into more remote parts of the world to see how we are essentially living in luxury in comparison to other not so

Afghan children show off the water source for their school in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009 (photo by SMSgt Temple).

fortunate nations. In Afghanistan, an education is an extravagance that a child can only fantasize about. A teacher is a rare commodity in Afghanistan. The village may have one or two teachers to instruct all of the children that are able to attend classes. Only wealthier villages even have school buildings with desks or running water and electricity. A wealthy child would be one that can afford a writing instrument and paper. Most of the children have to do without these luxuries, simply relying on memorization. Chalkboards are so uncommon that

Students meet under a tarp in this classroom that has no walls and no desks for the students (photo by SMSgt Temple, June 2009).

teachers resort to using green spray-paint on walls if available. The situation in Afghanistan is bleak.

 

There are solutions to these dilemmas. SMSgt. Rex Temple and his wife Liisa Temple are spearheading an effort to bring school supplies to Afghan children. During his deployment in Afghanistan, SMSgt. Rex Temple stumbled upon this education situation. His group of men and he were passing out candy to children in a village. There was one child, however, that did not want candy. Instead, he pointed at the pen on Temple’s arm. The child proceeded to tell Temple about how all he wanted was the pen because he wanted to go to school, but he could not afford any school materials. This event sparked the creation of the School Supplies for Afghan Children mission. Tens of thousands of items have been donated to thousands of children in Afghanistan since the beginning of this project, with efforts still to increase donations still under way.

 

Me (in blue shirt) and my classmates during Jan. 24 lecture with our first shipment of school supplies in the foreground.

I am part of a group of Honors College students at the University of South Florida that is participating in a class taught by SMSgt. Rex Temple’s wife, Liisa Temple. The aim of this class is to learn about the education situation in Afghanistan and help in creating and carrying out solutions. On Monday January 24, 2011, we found out first hand the work that goes into getting school supplies to the children in Afghanistan. The costs associated with sending hundreds of boxes of school supplies to that country can be staggering. On top of that, our project currently only has 7 volunteer U.S. troops in different parts of Afghanistan transporting these donated items to the schools because of the threat imposed by the Taliban, which is strictly opposed to the aid that is being provided to the schools. However, this is a worthy cause and I pray that the efforts to help the children of Afghanistan, who have thirst for knowledge, can continue to expand.

 

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About Julio Novo

I am currently a Junior in the Honors College studying finance at the University of South Florida. I also hold a seat on the board of directors in the International Business Board in the university. My business interests are in investments and financial analysis and I am currently working to obtain a summer internship in one of these fields. However, my life isn't all about business. I am a very active tennis player and my interests range from programming to creating music. My ultimate goal is to have a significant impact on the world. A good one, of course. But for now, I'm taking things one step at a time, one managerial accounting test at a time.
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