Happy Independence Day, India! How Education Can Free India’s People

indian flagHappy Independence Day, India! It’s hard to believe that a country with such a rich history can only be celebrating independence as one nation for the 67th time, today. Just like on my birthday every year, it’s on India’s Independence day that I’m always very grateful: grateful for the rich culture from which I was born and raised and grateful for my life beyond India’s bleak reality.

Because I was born in India, it hits harder to home for me when I turn on the TV or hear the stories from back home. India’s poor seem to getting poorer, women’s rights seem to be getting fewer, and the entire country seems to be shrouded in a dark cloud of problems it can’t seem to improve. Somehow, I was one of the lucky ones got to experience everything wonderful that being Indian is about (here’s a little run-down of India’s history beyond Bollywood), but I was spared the hardships that so many millions of people suffer everyday.

Recently, I learned that India is the home to 287 million illiterate people — the most in any country. If that number is too vague to comprehend, think about this: India makes up 40% of the world’s population of illiterate people; almost as many people that LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES cannot READ OR WRITE in India.

When you can actually realize how many people this disables from having a job, having rights, having an opportunity to do something with their lives, you realize how many of this free country’s people are actually not free at all. They’re bound by the shackles of illiteracy, which will inevitably keep them and their children stuck in vicious cycle of poverty.

Education is what can free the world, and education singularly can free India’s people from their destitution. I’ve never felt more fiercely about the power — nay — the gift of education, and I’m pledging myself to educating people about this, so that maybe I won’t just be one of those “lucky ones.”

Pratham is non-profit organization that recently caught my eye because they are working at helping India’s impoverished children and youth by addressing the problem at the root cause: lack of education. The organization was established in 1995 and has helped to educate millions of children over the last 19 years.

What they’re doing is truly phenomenal. Pratham operates at less than a 10% overhead cost and develops innovating teaching solutions so that they can help educate children and youth with basic reading, writing and arithmetic schools to help them learn the foundational skills that are so important to build on.

Over the next month, a generous donor is pledging 25 cents for every new Facebook like Pratham USA’s page receives in order to spread awareness about their work solutions. It takes only about $25 to help educate a child in India for an ENTIRE YEAR. You’re already on Facebook all the time; a few seconds of your time to like their page can actually make a huge difference!

On that note, let’s hope that every child who has the opportunity to learn doesn’t waste it. An education is the greatest thing you can have for a better future — remember that!


Fight World Hunger For Free

It feels so great when you’re able to give back to those who have less than you, but people have a hard time doing it more for a number of reasons: there’s not enough time; it’s too expensive, it takes too long, etc. Whatever the excuse — and whether it’s valid or not — it all means that not enough is being done.

When I came across this absolutely wonderful site a while back ago, I just had to spread the word. I’ve since gotten my old service sorority to incorporate it into the weekly meetings and keep the effort ongoing. The idea behind this way of giving back is exceptional and even fun!

The site is called freerice.com and on it, you quiz yourself on subjects varying from chemistry and algebra to geography and English. By answering questions, you can increase your skills in these topics (the levels go from low to high, and you pick) and for every right question, the site’s sponsors donate 10 grains of rice to the U.N. World Food Programme that feeds millions of hungry people around the world. Ten grains doesn’t sound like a lot, but the questions are simple and take seconds to answer. Before you know it, you’ll have played for 10 minutes and donated multiple bowls of food.

What’s truly fantastic is that you can track your donations and even create groups to do it with you friends, service group, or family. Make it a group effort, and you’ll have a lot of fun keeping your brain sharp and fighting world hunger for free. In what other situations can you walk away knowing you’ve gained and given for free? A perfect way to kids and adults to have fun, learn, and help those around the world immensely.

It’s too easy and too powerful not to do, so spread the word let’s feed the world!

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