During my recent three-week trip to eastern Chad to visit the Darfuri refugee camps Djabal and Goz Amer, I had lots of conversations. The meetings under trees, in classrooms, and community centers throughout the camps made me realize how much I took education and what it means for granted. The ability to read, write, count, speak, understand an official language, and comprehend the world around me-these are abilities so integrated into daily life that I rarely stop to consider them as skills. And I think a large number of us do the same without realizing it. We understand the need and importance of education, yet we underestimate its power and potential to radically improve the human existence.
The time I spent in Djabal and Goz Amer refugee camps in Chad served as a great reminder of how education changed my life. Thanks to the education I received, I can shape the kind of life and future I want for myself. Education laid the foundation for the development of this competency and opened the door to a life of learning and possibilities. Access to quality education that lays the groundwork for a good life and a bright future should not be closed to those who are living in dire humanitarian conditions, such as the camps for Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad.
Each day I spent in the camps made me realize that my own passion for education was surpassed by students, teachers, and community members I met with in Djabal and Goz Amer. They shared their stories and discussed their needs with me, and it was a truly humbling experience. They enthusiastically communicated their belief in the power of education to change their lives. Students who wanted to become doctors, politicians, diplomats, engineers, and pilots had visualized their lives beyond the refugee camps and knew education was the way to achieving their goals; teachers who were students themselves described why they wanted to continue learning. These dreams deserve to be nurtured in a space where they can discover, ...[view whole blog post ]