Physics, Ecology, Biology, and Physiology; these are the subjects that I’ve been immersed in since stepping foot on the University of South Florida’s campus. I could have stayed in my comfort zone and chosen a Major Works and Issues class which went along with the academic environment and solitary work I was accustomed to but instead took a huge leap out of my bubble and joined a charitable group service project collecting school supplies for children in Afghanistan as part of a class taught by Professor Liisa Temple.
I remember hearing Assistant Dean Kleine start reading off the very last section option and thinking to myself “What on earth does a pencil have to do with Afghanistan?” I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never stopped before to think about the education system in Afghanistan or any of the living conditions in general. Between reading the School Supplies for Afghan Children web page, Three Cups of Tea and listening to Professor Temple and her husband Rex speak my eyes have been opened to how desperate the need is for even the most basic of supplies throughout the country.
I’m not in any way comfortable speaking in front of people, know nothing about blogging, advertising or successful social networking and have no idea how to inspire people to donate towards a school supplies drive. However, if a small boy can face his fear of the Taliban for a pen, I can face my fear of being outgoing for the sake of helping children incapable of helping themselves. The conditions these students withstand, such as the highly crowded school room shown here with one desk and no electricity, to take in any
ounce of information offered to them are unbelievable. I remember wanting to skip school from the sniffles or in high school there were laptops that could be borrowed and passed out to everyone in class and no one thought anything of it.
As a society that’s using less paper and pencils each year while we become more dependent on computers, the yellow No. 2 pencils and ten cent folders with brads that feel like ancient history to college students could serve as a world of opportunity to children eager to learn on the other side of the globe. This semester my peers and I will set out to inspire others that helping the children of Afghanistan will make a difference in the long term. Helping to educate a generation of children who have an incredible thirst for knowledge will help rebuild a country and in time a pencil can bring peace.