This week the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winners accepted their prizes. One, 17 years old and female, and the other, 60 and male, champion the same cause: the human right of children to an education.
In Malala’s words:
“(The Nobel Prize) is for those forgotten children who want education. It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change… I’m here to stand up for their rights, to raise their voice… It is not time to pity them. It is not time to pity them. It is time to take action, so it becomes the last time … that we see a child deprived of education.”
In Mr. Satyarthi’s words:
“I have come here to share the voices and dreams of our children, because they are all our children… We live in an age of rapid globalization… We are connected through high-speed Internet. We exchange goods and services in one single global market. Thousands of flights every day connect us to every corner of the globe. But there is one serious disconnect. It is the lack of compassion…Let us globalize compassion.”
EdPowerment’s Directors are often asked to explain – or defend – why we serve those in Tanzania, rather than the U.S. The answer is what Mr. Satyarthi called global compassion:
- The youth we serve have been excluded from public education at the age of 13. There is no school for them to attend.
- The youth we serve live without running water, heat, electricity and sometimes food. They cannot study at night and they cannot do anything productive during the day.
- The youth we serve have no toilets, beds, closets, or other basics of advanced societies.
- The youth we serve cannot get a job to help themselves- not even a low paying restaurant or retail job. They have no work opportunities.
- The youth we serve cannot go to a public library to read a book or access a computer. Most have never touched a computer. Most attended primary schools with few or no teachers to teach basic reading and math.
This is global compassion. This is why we work with discarded teens in one set of villages in Tanzania.