“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world”. – Nelson Mandela
A classic education quote, but a good one nonetheless. Many of us underestimate the value of education. We take it for granted. It’s something that living in a developed country like the UK we have ready access to. It’s only as I’ve learnt more about the world that I’ve come to appreciate the value of education and how lucky we are.
In 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated that “everyone has the right to education”. Why is it important? For so many reasons. It increases maternal health, gender equality, environmental sustainability, future earnings and it decreases child mortality and poverty. And yet only a third of countries have achieved the Education For All (EFA) goal set in the Millennium Development Goals. In 2012, 121 million children and adolescents were still out of school. The poorest children are five times more likely not to complete primary education than the richest.
Reading these statistics I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the scale but motivated to act. Which brings me to the reason for this project fund.
I am a fully qualified teacher with experience in Primary education, GCSE and A Level education and Special Education. I’m an accredited Dyslexia teacher and am experienced in teaching children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum. I’m currently completing a MSc in Psychology and a MEd in Inclusive and Special Educational Needs. I’m particularly passionate about access to education services for children with special educational needs.
So at the end of this academic year (June 2017) I am leaving my current role to spend 10 months (minimum) travelling with a good friend and teaching (just me). We are currently planning on spending approximately 3 months in South America and another 3 in South East Asia. This may take the form of organised trips but I also want to get involved and make links with individual schools.
I’m currently contacting schools in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador in South America and Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos in South East Asia to arrange to visit them as a volunteer. I am also hoping to conduct research for my MEd dissertation on global autism schools and services so hope to visit as many as possible.
At the moment we’re looking at 10 months of travel and teaching and we are obviously saving hard and self-funding that. However, if I can raise additional funds I can volunteer in more schools, possibly extending our time there and sharing more of my experience. I would also like to forge ongoing connections with schools, and between schools. To share best practise in education and special education in particular. Any money that we raise will go to voluntary activities only (school resources, expenses whilst volunteering such as accommodation, food, travel to projects etc.).
I ask that if you value education as highly as I do, if you’ve seen the benefit that it can have, if you’ve seen the value that it can give to individuals with special educational needs, to consider donating so that we can extend our volunteering time and make a difference to more children and young people.
Reference for stats: http://en.unesco.org/gem-report/report/2015/education-all-2000-2015-achievements-and-challenges