By Ryan Brinkerhoff
September 20, 2018

Over the past two and a half years, our team at Thrive has often been asked why we focus on education rather than food or water or any other challenge in disaster areas and developing economies. To me, the answer is simple:

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
-Malcolm X

It’s through education that we create long-lasting change – alleviating poverty and empowering people to write their own destiny. And while it may not be the easiest or the most glamorous solution out there, the thing about knowledge is that once you have it no one can take it away from you. Education, therefore, becomes the medium through which we solve more complex problems locally and sustainably. This what we at Thrive Projects believe, and it is what we have put into practice over the last two and a half years.

We have made a clear effort, not just to make education more accessible, but to improve the quality and relevance of the material our students learn. Research from the World Bank backs up this philosophy: showing that by improving the quality of the education, and by providing and preparing good teachers, we can enhance learning outcomes and speed community development.

Moreover, in countries like Nepal where we primarily focus it becomes even more important to bring education to students within the confines of their home community. For many who live scattered amongst the remote hills, traveling great distances just to go to school is not worth it – they would rather prioritize working in the fields. Such challenges may explain why, according to UNESCO, one (1) out of every (4) students who begin their elementary school education will not see it through to completion.

The reality is that for many of the young people we work with and their communities, it is a greater risk to give up one (1) dollar working the fields today than it is a reward to make five (5) dollars in a skilled profession tomorrow. This remains a challenge that we must continue to overcome because it is absolutely an investment worth making.

We will only be able to conquer current and future challenges if we inform and prepare the next generation of community leaders. If we fail this mission then we will surely never see the full potential of these resilient, vibrant communities be realized.

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