What does it mean when you've had the same best friend for so long that your parents start treating the best friend like she's their kid, too? Well, for us it means the best friend is included in family travel plans so that we can experience things like sisters do...together.
You're probably wondering who "we" are. Allow us to introduce ourselves.
We are Emma (on the left) and Emily (on the right). Our parents call us Eminem but we prefer Em and Em. We're both 17-years-old and have spent many years bonding over soccer, puppies, and a shared case of wanderlust.
This past July we traveled to Kenya with Emma's family. Before we left, we asked Emma's dad to get in touch with our guides to find out if there was a need for school supplies in any nearby village and, if there was, what was needed and how we could go about getting supplies to the school. We were given a list of things the school needed and set about collecting the items on the list. Compasses, solar-powered calculators, pencils, flashcards, pencil sharpeners...we made sure we collected some of everything on the list and filled a suitcase with the supplies. We didn't expect to be able to visit the village so we were happily surprised when we learned we'd be able to deliver the supplies to the school ourselves.
The teachers greeted us outside and talked so proudly about their school. They explained that the kids start with them at preschool and stay with them through grade 4. They are taught how to read and write and how to do math. They are also taught English, something the teachers told us the kids couldn't wait to show us.
Then it was time to meet the kids! Some of the kids were excited to greet us while others were shy and cautious but they all obviously loved their teachers and wanted to make them proud. Every child smiled when the teachers spoke to them; their little faces actually glowed with pride.
When our time at the school was almost over, Emma's mom asked a question, "What happens when 4th grade is over? Where do the kids go to school after that?"
The teacher responded, "Most of these children will never go to school again."
Which got us to ask, "Why not?"
To which the teacher replied, "We do not have enough room here for the older children. If we must choose which children to educate, we must choose the younger children so that they can learn to read and to write and understand a little bit of math and English. We must at least give children that much. If we had more classrooms we could educate the older children but we do not so we do the best we can with what we have."
An education is an opportunity to escape poverty, not only for themselves but for their families and villages. An education can be life-changing for these children and their families but only if they can continue to attend school. If we can give this school just one more building for classrooms they can educate their children beyond the 4th grade and change lives for the better.
Please help us to help these children get the education they want and deserve. We can't change the whole world but we can change the whole world for one village of children.
Em and Em