I got a message a couple of weeks ago from a friend in Malawi with the words "I have good news for you". Oli was a waiter, one of the many I had got to know during my time staying in Blantyre, Malawi. Like many of the staff where I stayed, Oli had become one of the people I would ask the most random questions of, what words in Chichewa meant, where places were. Oli's good news is he's attending Teacher Training College, training to be a primary school teacher.
I've often came across young people working in jobs below their capabilities, they lack the opportunities that education provides many of us but more than anything they lack confidence in their own abilities. With many children in Malawi struggling to finish primary and secondary school; further and higher education is massively under-accessed. Education for many is the key element of breaking the cycle of poverty, without it job opportunities are limited. I was really pleased to hear that Oli is training to become a teacher, the investment in furthering his own education will benefit him and his family, but as a teacher he will help many children to progress through primary school; benefiting them, their families and the wider community.
This post is entitled Dreams can come true... and education really is the yellow brick road to lots of dreams. When children say they want to be doctors, nurses, teacher, lawyers, police officers and even presidents; education is the key to their dreams. So whether they are from rural Malawi and attend a school with no electricity or from central Scotland with access to all the latest gadgets- they all have one thing in common; the need for an education.
We sometimes take education and our right to primary and secondary education for granted in Scotland. I'm currently working on a chapter of my PhD thesis. There was never a question over whether I would progress through primary and secondary school and I went on to university. I've had twenty-two years of education, I try not to take it for granted, to appreciate the opportunities I've had.
I hope one day I am able to "pay it forward"...