Education: The Substance of Self-Worth
"Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” — Malala Yousafzai
Pawan looked up at his parents blankly. His giant brown eyes seemed to ask one resounding question:
What’s wrong with me?
At 4 years old, it was difficult for his parents to explain why Pawan couldn’t play with the other boys his age, or why the children outside of his community refused to touch anything he did. It broke their hearts to watch as their son began to understand the identity that had been stamped on their family, as well as others, for years . . . they were untouchable.
Pawan’s parents had been exiled to a leper colony years before he was born. Marginalized by society, they were forced to beg for odd jobs throughout the nearby villages—even if it meant handling trash or killing rodents. They were glad to take filthy jobs others refused to do if it meant their son would eat that night.
More than anything, Pawan’s parents longed to see him go to school. They were well aware that an education would be his only hope of escaping the life of isolation he was born into . . . his only chance to overcome the crippling labels that had defined his life the moment he was born.
Many of the families in their community were unable to afford the resources their children needed to attend school—books, uniforms, even shoes. And eventually, they gave in to hopelessness . . . without access to education, it seemed impossible they would ever escape the quicksand of poverty and disease.
Pawan’s parents had nearly given up when an unexpected gift changed everything.
Pawan vaguely remembers the day his mother came bursting through the door of their dilapidated home. She was blinking back tears as she held up his very first school uniform . . . one they could never have afforded on their own.
Days later, Pawan was enrolled in a local English-language school. It was an opportunity that would change the course of his life.
Today, Pawan is an ambitious 12-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a pilot in the air force. He no longer views himself as “untouchable,” but as loved, accepted, and fully capable of achieving his dreams.
The gift of education is giving Pawan a life that reaches far beyond his impoverished community . . . it is lifting him above his circumstances and allowing his confidence to soar.
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By supporting education, you provide far more than a career path or even a door of escape from the cycle of poverty. Through the gift of education, you equip a child with the resources necessary to uncover their true identity and self-worth.
Browse the World Help Gifts catalog today to find many ways to give the gift of education to an impoverished child this Christmas—provide school uniforms, school supplies, vocational scholarships, or essential vocational tools. Help instill self-worth this holiday season.
We must remember that one child . . . one education . . . can change the world.