Got The Price of a Coffee on You?


No Education –  No Dreams

I got the dreaded coronavirus and have to admit it was not the mild version. My voice went for three days with some hoping when it returned, I might have lost my thick Northern accent, and it would have been replaced with a lyrical Cork one !!

Anyway, having gotten over the worst, I turned my attention to looking at my finances. Over Christmas, my wife asked, how much money do you think you spend on trivial things without thinking about it? Pepsi Max, the odd Mc Donalds breakfast, that extra magazine or streaming service etc. And of course, we all shrug our shoulders and reply, very little. HMMM!! After adding it up, I got a little shock.

I mean, how much do we waste, maybe not waste but could put to better use? Those who know me know the work I am involved in Cambodia, Laos, Kenya and now Myanmar. During the lockdown, we have been building relationships there planted a church in Rakhai village. As I spoke with our guy on the ground there yesterday, he informed me of a need in Parchaung village of the Lay Tu area where there was no school and education was not possible for 23 children there. They can’t afford the government fees, uniforms, books etc. I asked him what the cost would be and after a couple of hours he came back €1300….thinking this was quite a large number for me, I asked per month? No, per year, was his reply €108 per month, €3.56 per day – that’s approximately the price of a decent coffee, less than a pint of beer. For €3.56, you can educate 23 children, pay the wage of 1 teacher to do so and let these children dream of changing their lives and their communities.

All children have a right to education. I mean, nobody would disagree with this statement! Governments of the world would tell you that and yet many, many children are forgotten about as the government educational programme does not extend that far. Or those times when I met with families in rural Cambodia, in the mountain villages of Laos or in the Slums of Kenya, who have to choose which child they will send to school. They can only afford to send one. The rest, well, they have to go and work in the fields or in those factories we have all read about (and yes, they are real).

What about their dreams, their goals? Do we let them die in the fields or the factories where they will work night and day for very little remuneration? Barely able to survive.

Education creates dreams for many kids. During this pandemic, schools closed, yet for many in the western world, education continued online. But what about those where the web was not available. What about countries like Myanmar where not only covid hit but also civil war broke, and many had to flee their homes, their towns!

The journey to end poverty starts with a child. Don’t Let the Light of Education Be Extinguished. Give us the price of a coffee, please.

Born For Greatness School,

Parchaung Village,

Lay Tu,

Myanmar.

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