Providing basic tools for an education

The WordPress blog community is, I am discovering, a good place to connect with writers with similar interests and life experiences. Case in point, a group from Florida with the goal of providing school supplies to Afghan children. The seed for the idea was planted by an Afghan child. In 2009 while SMSgt Rex Temple was deployed to an area in Afghanistan near to where I will be a child approached his unit while they were on patrol. This is a common occurrence. Troops typically travel with water, candy, soccer balls and trinkets to hand out. This particular Afghan child asked not for chocolate, but for a pen.

The seed of an idea began to take root. Temple worked with and through his wife Liisa, a professor at the University of South Florida and she organized the first of many supply drives and shipments. Since 2009 she has incorporated the mission of providing school supplies to Afghan children into her curriculum. Readers can follow her honor students as they contribute to a blog and write about their experiences gathering supplies and shipping them off to Afghanistan. To-date thousands of pounds of supplies have been sent abroad in hopes of helping children equip themselves with the knowledge needed bring peace through education.

I will not be able to bring boxes upon boxes of supplies with me while I’m embedded with the Minnesota National Guard’s Zabul Agribusiness Development Team, but reading this blog has motivated me to ask around, get a few dollars worth of donations and stow a couple of hundred pens and pencils in my pack. The thought of a simple gesture providing a child with more than a temporary sugar rush is powerful.

Their blog is massive. I have simply reblogged one of the many posts that struck me as poignant. All of the stories are relevant and capture the students’ interest and passion for doing better. For a more general overview this particular link provides a good base of information:

School Supplies for Afghan Children

Education—the experience that allows one to shape one’s mind, beliefs, and ideas. It is essentially the process by which a society transmits its thoughts, knowledge, skills, and values to a new generation. Without education, one would not be able to solve analytical problems, develop critical thinking skills, create innovative ideas, or discover a cure for terminal diseases. Not only does education help us learn and apply theories, and figure out math problems, but it also allows us to learn our societal values and develop social skills.

Education is the opposite of ignorance, as it allows us the opportunity to acquire knowledge on topics otherwise uninformed of. It’s been through educational programs that children have been taught to avoid drugs, steer clear of peer pressure, and to just say “no.” In America, there is a common belief that by educating our children, they will be less likely to commit crimes, get…

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