Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Impact Through Education
I attended a fascinating program this evening that was hosted by a friend of mine at our local Middle School. The program was presented by the two founders of a school in a rural Maasai village in Tanzania. If you're interested in checking it out, here's their website: www.ieftz.org. They're working with people who live in extreme poverty and providing a way for children to get a strong HS education in an environment in which few have any education at all. Most importantly, they're helping these children to develop the knowledge, skills, and character to be able to change their futures and those of their families and communities. Rather than trying to change the world itself, they're giving kids the tools to change their own worlds. Tonight we made a contribution to assist in this important work.
Hearing about the way these villagers live and how little hope most of them have to create better futures is candidly hard to fathom. I don't say that as if to suggest that I doubt it in any way. Rather, I say it from the perspective that their existence differs from my own so starkly that it's virtually impossible to grasp. It harkens me back to the comment I made several days ago about being incredibly lucky to be born into the circumstances that I was. There's not much but luck that separates my birth and the opportunities I have from people across the globe who live with such limited opportunity. It also raises important questions, albeit ones that are difficult to answer, about what my responsibility is to help those less fortunate and just how much I should sacrifice to that end.
I have often debated in my own mind the relative value of a rich person donating millions of dollars to a cause vs. a person of lesser means donating a hundred dollars. From the perspective of sacrifice, the rich person may have made no sacrifice whatsoever to their lifestyle while the poorer person may have made a much greater sacrifice. And yet, there's no denying that in terms of the amount that can be accomplished, the rich person's millions can obviously have far greater impact than the poor person's hundred dollars. I have no "conclusion" to this thought; it's just something I often ponder as I think about the appropriate amount to give to any particular cause.