Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Children, Education and The World

I awoke  this morning to the news that a young girl in northwestern Pakistan had been shot in the head by the Taleban for daring to assert her right to education. Yes, she was an activist, you can read some of the blog that she started to write when she was just 11 years old here, but is shooting her really going to achieve anything but condemnation? As I write this, the news agencies are reporting she has undergone surgery to remove the bullet. No doubt many are praying for her recovery, I wish her this and hope her spirit has not been extinguished. 

Also, this evening a radio documentary told me about the corruption in provincial South Africa that sees money supposed to be spent on schooling misappropriated and children forced to attend school without textbooks. Whilst other people are ordered to shred, yes SHRED, brand new textbooks for goodness only knows what reason.

Education, is it not the right of all people, young and old?

But in the midst of this news day, I received an email from a wonderful American woman. Let me share her story. About six months ago, I received an email from this lady asking me how she could get hold of a copy of my book The Stuck There Forever Boat which is a story about global warming set in Tuvalu. 

It seems that this visionary grandmother and her six year old granddaughter, Peyton, had decided to travel the world through books. They pinned up a world map and armed with a box of red dots and a library card started to read books from different countries of the world. They placed a dot on their map to represent each one as they went.  Since the book is now sold out, and a reprint undecided, I sent her one of my few remaining copies. As well as a copy of Curly From Shirley about a dog in post-quake Christchurch.

Their "read around the world" is complete and they have created their own book about the journey. Peyton and her grandmother have kindly agreed to allow me to share it here. This is a reminder of the value of reading, of love and of a journey. In a few short months, this little girl has received an loving gift, of joy and education, much more than the other girls I started writing this blog about. 

Where is the equality in this world? Thanks goodness that some children live in a free world, where education and reading are valued. And perhaps more importantly. have loving older relatives to show them the way.