Benny's World

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mulla Colony, India

Josh from the One America Committee blog reports that he and JRE arrived in India earlier this week. JRE gave a rousing speech at the Hindustan Times Conference, but he and Josh paid a visit to one of the schools participating in the Pratham Education Initiative. As Josh wrote, "With the financial backing of the Ashoka Foundation, which promotes social entrepreneurship around the world, Dr. Chavan designed a low-cost, replicable way of bringing pre-primary and primary education to poor kids living in the urban and semi-rural slums of India."

I look at this picture and think about how the kids allegedly have a library, which Josh described as, "which we were told was one of the best in the area, consists of used paperback books dangling from two strings which extend from a crumbling brick home to a tree a few yards away. The students sit within feet of live oxen."

I've never studied or read a book near large animals before. I don't know if they are treated like domesticated animals in my home (although most Hindus are vegetarian--so perhaps they may be in rural areas). While I didn't have many advantages either as a child, the one thing my elementary did well was having a good library. In the summers, the library was open for 3-4 weeks, and often, I was one of the most prodigious readers in the school.

I agree with JRE that poverty is our problem, not just their problem. And I also agree with Bill Clinton when he suggested at the UAE conference this week where JRE also spoke, that oil-rich countries should think about investing in non-oil energy, and help their neighbors to use that energy when they live in sunny, warm climes.

To the children of Mulla Colony, dream. All of us are worthy of dreams, and many of your countrymen are doing better--to do good for others.


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