Education- A Game Changer

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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
― Nelson Mandela

India is a country which is further divided into sub countries. I say Countries and not States because the ethos and cultures are so different in every state that you can hardly believe that you are in the same country once you move from one part of the country to the other.

I live in New Delhi which is the Northern part of the country and help a charity in Kerala which is the tip of India, well, almost. My daily encounters include people from all walks of life including the laundry man’s children. The laundry men in New Delhi are generally poverty-stricken and illiterate. The laundry man in my society has 6 children and no has limited means to feed them.

I was talking to his elder daughter one day who is in the 12th grade and asked her about her future plans. She smiled and asked me instead, “What future?”, I said, “Your future, what are you going to do after you pass out from the 12th grade? College? Job? What will you do?”. She smiled again and told me that that’s it for her. She wont be studying any further. This is all her mother will allow her to do. She added that whenever she sits down to study, her mother forces her to work and complete house hold chores, passing these exams is a big deal for her.

Tanushree's Photography

Tanushree’s Photography

Zoom out of that scene. I am now walking on dusty paths of Kerala in a village to visit a beneficiary family’s house for my charity. The house is clean and the mother is a widow. Sh serves as a domestic servant in the nearby houses and feeds her three children, two daughters and one son. As we started talking to her she tells us that her daughter is in her second year of Under Graduate program in Pharmacy. On asking how she is paying for her fees, she tells us that she kept the little gold jewelry she had as mortgage to pay for the college tuition fees. She adds that she understands the importance of education and she wants her younger son and daughter to get educated too and escape this circle of poverty. By the way, her son wants to be a Computer Science Engineer.

My mind was whirling with these contrasting characters. Two mothers, both love their children and still this huge gap of awareness and knowledge about what is right and what is wrong for their children. First and foremost, I give credit to the nonprofit as with their resolute efforts and countless counselling sessions they are able to bring about this drastic change.But it’s always on us as to what we do with our lives. We always get help in some form or the other. But what we do with the help is always on us.

While this woman lives in a small village, the laundry man’s wife lives in the capital of India, doesn’t it account for anything? Any sort of awareness? So I always give credit to the person who changes her/his life and her/his family’s life.

Tanushree's Photography

Tanushree’s Photography

In all these events one thing which is clichéd for centuries and is true, came out in solid in front of me and it was the importance of Education.There is one answer to all the miseries related to poverty and that is Education. Education was and is a Game Changer for the society and at least for the society of India. We are still living deep in superstitions and Education can end that. We still have a long way to go and we can inspire people to change their centuries old beliefs. There is lack of motivation and awareness. I take responsibility for that as I am not doing enough to change the psychology.

We need inspiration and with the kind of youth India has, it wont be difficult. Nothing is easy and it is difficult to solve a problem when we are clueless of its solution. We know the answer here so we have a path. It wont be as tough this time. Not just India, but any country can only move forward when the part of population which is struggling to make ends meet gets educated. Education not only brings bread but also opens up locked doors in minds. It makes a person think logically for not only self but also for the family. It’s almost like Magic. old_notebook-wallpaper-960x540

“When you know better you do better.”
― Maya Angelou

What do you think?

EXCLUSIVE: The founder of “The Thirst Project” talks to Charity Spring

SethMaxwellSeth Maxwell was a 19-year-old acting student in Los Angeles when a brief meeting with a friend who’d just returned from Africa changed the course of his life forever. Upon learning that almost one billion people lack access to clean water and that water-borne illnesses account for more than 80% of all global disease, he gave up acting to focus on water education. The Thirst Project is a movement of young people who are raising awareness around and bringing solutions to the global water crisis. Combining outreach and water well implementation, The Thirst Project has completed more than 392 freshwater development projects across the globe and reached 200,000 American students with its eye-opening educational programs.

Charity Spring scored an Exclusive interview with him.

Tell us about The Thirst Project. What is the initiative all about?
Almost 1 billion people on the planet do not have access to safe, clean water, and 4,400 kids under the age of five will die today from drinking dirty water. The Thirst Project is a movement of high school and college students that builds freshwater wells in developing nations and impoverished communities to provide people with safe, clean water.  A nonprofit organization, The Thirst Project travels across the United States speaking at schools to educate students about the global water crisis and challenge them to fund raise to build wells. 100% of all public gifts go directly to funding freshwater wells on the ground. The Thirst Project has given more than 180,000 people in 11 countries safe, clean water.

Your initiative is innovation at its best. How did you come up with this idea?
I was 19, living in Los Angeles, studying in college, and I had a friend who was a photojournalist for National Geographic, who returned to LA from a trip that she took all over the world for about a year and a half. We got together at Starbucks to catch up, and I sat, stunned, as I looked at picture after picture after picture of three, and four, and five-year-olds on the side of the road, drinking water out of puddles, ponds, swamps, stuff that looked like chocolate milk. And I wasn’t just looking at some far off or removed “sad pictures,” but I began to listen to the most piercing stories of people who she had befriended over a three or four month period each of the communities she worked in, many of whom she watched died of dysentery, cholera, things I had never even imagined. All as a direct result of just drinking dirty water. seth maxwellI went home and began researching, and discovered that there are almost one billion people on the planet, still, today, in 2013, who do not have access to basic, safe, clean drinking water. I learned that 4,400 children under the age of five die EVERY DAY as a result of drinking dirty water. So, I couldn’t ignore it. My entire worldview was shattered. I started by just raising awareness on my college campus with my friends. Shortly after we started, two schools asked us to speak about the water crisis at their school and what we were doing about it at our campus. Just one month later, both schools had done fundraisers and raised over $12,000 that they gave to us to build wells. THAT was the moment I knew we could do something significant, and The Thirst Project was born.

Seth, you are one of of the youngest social entrepreneurs today. Do you see yourself doing something else too in the near future? Something even more ingenious and breakthrough in the world of philanthropy?
Thank you so much for the kind words and compliments. I don’t think of myself as some crazy innovator. I just think of myself as responding to a need in the most natural way I could. I don’t know that I’ll work for The Thirst Project FOREVER (I’m only 25, after all), but, I’m here for the foreseeable future. We made a huge commitment last year to give the entire nation of Swaziland safe, clean water within the next decade, so I’m definitely here for the next 10 years. Who knows after that. :)thirst-project

The Thirst Project is operational in different parts of the world, how do you decide the location of your project?
We have a Water Project Technical Board (separate from our actual Board of Governors). This Technical Board is comprised of 3 Civil Engineers and 2 Hydrologists. Their sole role in The Thirst Project is to oversee the water projects we implement and maintain our Sustainability Practices. They are the ones who determine where we build, how we build, how we engage communities, etc. Thirst-Project_Logo

How can our readers help in making your noble cause a huge success?
The best way for teens to get involved is to bring us to their school on our School Tour! To do that, email Amber@ThirstPoject.org! After that, DO SOMETHING! Raise awareness on your campus, host a fundraiser, and get your friends and school to raise funds to build a well!

PLEASE provide support to this noble cause by volunteering and donating. Extend a helping hand and save a dying kid :)

 

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