file0001823310084By Giulia Manini (1994) LSP Assisi/Italy

Once Kofi Annan, seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, said: “Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development” however, as can be gathered from the data of the 2011 Human Development Report  by the Unesco the adult (Ages 15 and older) literacy rate (2005 – 2010) in the world is 80.9 which means that 775.408.031 people can neither write nor read.

Data show that although education is considered by most of us to be one of the fundamental  cornerstones of a person’s personal development, many people in the world and even in Europe do not have the possibility to receive proper primary education and it is a really dangerous issue, because illiteracy stops people from communicating from one another and upgrading their living conditions.

It is not possible to identify a main element as the first cause of illiteracy, indeed it has many different roots depending on the current events of a  country. Among the most important are the economical and political milieus which significantly affect a person’s chance to get education.

As  regards  the economic  background, poverty has the greatest impact on education since children who need to work cannot go to school. Families cannot afford education, and afterwards many older students are forced to leave their studies and look for a job as there are no state subsidies which guarantee young people can carry on their formation. On the same level  we have the emigration of educated individuals who leave their homelands because of external economic incentives.

As well as the economical situation there is the social framework. In many circumstances there is a lack of teaching staff qualified to spread knowledge, sometimes there are no school buildings or effective educational  programmes in rural areas. Thus  children are often raised by parents or relatives who are too busy or illiterate themselves and cannot provide the necessary skills that children will require in life. One of the most current causes is the political situation in some countries. Fortunately there are and always will be people who do not go down on their knees, but fight for their rights: this is the story of Malala Yousafzai.

Malala is a Pakistani girl who lives under the Taliban regime and therefore can not attend school because of the Shari’a law imposed on the country; despite that in 2009 she started posting on a blog about her dream to go back to school and have an education. Because of her blog for the BBC she soon became famous around the world and became the symbol of young people fighting for their future, but all the media attention she received put her life at risk an when she went back to school on October 9th 2012, Taliban gunmen boarded her school bus, sought her out and shot her in the head. Eventually she was  airlifted to a hospital in Britain and she survived her severe wounds.

I could have told other moving stories of all those brave people out there who are fighting for their ideals, but this should be an example for the strong message that we get: never give up and fight for what you believe in, especially to achieve a better world that has its foundations on education.

 “I don’t mind if I have to sit on the floor at school.  All I want is education. And I’m afraid of no one”. (Malala Yousafzai, Interview)