When I was a little girl, I had a tendency to get lost. To daydream, hoping that someday my Hogwarts letter would come and I could finally enroll in that Transfiguration class. To adventure through far-off lands, truly believing that I was carrying the Ring with Frodo and had to make it to Mount Doom to destroy it in time. To be caring and courageous, loving with Mother Teresa and Amy Carmichael as they cared for precious soul after precious soul. To go back in history to different exotic places, dancing in the Russian ballroom with little Anastasia, journeying into Narnia and meeting Aslan.
Not in real life, of course, but I believed it to be. No, I would get lost in my books; I lived hundreds of lives through the stories of others. Stories of courage, of great hope, of sadness, of mystery.
My nose was constantly stuck in a book, soaking up stories that moved me; taught me. Stories that struck me right in the heart. Stories that still, to this day, I pick up over and over again and open that cover, to get lost for yet another time in the magic of the words covering each page.
My parents joked that my best friends were my books, and it’s true. It would seem that “I was born with a reading list I will never finish”. It’s still true. Books take me where I cannot go. Books open doors to our future. Books inspire me to be greater than I am. Books show me that there is so much about the world that is more important than myself. And the ability to read? Seeing squiggles and scratches on a page of paper transform themselves into strings of words and sentences right before my eyes is something more magical than anything I’ve ever experienced in my vicarious adventures with Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
Reading is empowering. Education is empowering. We take that for granted every day. Each time we are handed an informational flyer, we glance at it and toss it aside. Every day we read street signs, menus, notes home from the teacher. We read. We process. We write. Over and over again.
There are millions around the world who have never been taught. To millions, those squiggles and scratches don’t magically transform themselves into words and sentences. To millions, those incomprehensible symbols represent the impenetrable barrier to education that they cannot even dream to overcome. Girls who believe that, because of social stigmas, they are not worth the time and resources an education requires.
But the time has come. The world is shaking, crying out for change. Hope is rising from all corners to tell them “You are worth it. Your education is important to me. Your future is important to me.”
My dear friend Caroline has been working for the last couple years with an organization in Pakistan, an organization that works to empower young women with an education. In places where gender inequalities and minority prejudices threaten to destroy the hope of education, Primary Education Project works to provide opportunity. They work to empower. They work to provide this hope.
Education should matter to you. Everyone deserves this chance. Everyone deserves this hope. But what can you do? Fight for awareness. Educate yourself. Watch films like Girl Rising. Read books like Half the Sky. Understand why education, and the empowerment it brings, especially for girls, is so important.
Follow organizations like Primary Education Project. Support them in their work and share their story. It matters.
Today is May 7. The time is now. There is an incredible opportunity today to have any gift to the organization increased by 30%, thanks to a matching gift. Share their story today. Join in the fight for equality, education, and empowerment around the world. It’s an uphill battle, but it is a hopeful battle. Join us. Join them. And hope. Hope for day when everyone can get lost in the magic of a book.
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”- Mother Teresa