Students at the Kyamulinga School in rural Uganda
Bay Roberts, who wrote this post, is one of the directors of One School at a Time.
People often ask me why I do the work of One School. Why bother helping these Ugandan children who are so far away? Why not just help kids right here in the United States?
I do this work because of the profound difference in equity between African and American children. Education for most Ugandan children doesn’t even come close to what our children, even in poor areas, receive. Should a Ugandan child be penalized and have opportunity reduced just because they happened to be born in Africa? Does a child deserve a better education just by virtue of where they were born?
All children have the right to go to school. All children should go to a school with bathroom facilities, educational materials, professional teachers, good security, safely constructed classrooms, and access to clean drinking water. Most Ugandan children (especially girls) do not even finish the 7th grade. If they are lucky enough to be enrolled in school, the school typically has unacceptable bathroom facilities, few to no educational materials, untrained teachers who frequently are absent, no security, dangerous classrooms that may fall down, and no clean drinking water. Why should some children, based on where they were born, have all these things while other children do not? There is something wrong with a world where distribution of wealth is so painfully inequitable. Here in the U.S., the Occupy Wall Street Movement is demonstrating against the 1% of our population who have all the wealth. I want to expand this theme to a world view- in this case, we in the U.S. are the 1% and the developing countries are the 99%.
After we adopted our daughter, Emi, from China, I experienced a profound paradigm shift. If Emi, with her beautiful Chinese face, was my daughter, this meant that any child in the world could by my child- any child in the world could be mine. After this realization, the circumstances of most children in the world became unbearable to me. Each one of these precious children could be my child…so how could I blissfully ignore the conditions of the 99% while I enrolled my daughter in the best private schools here in Colorado?
The work I do with One School is my way to try to make some small shift in resources towards the 99%. Join with me in this beautiful work.