If you read The New York Times in the past few weeks, you would have noticed two articles describing, in full, across-the-board benefits of education in regions of the world that need them.

The first, by Nicholas Kristof, glorifies the endeavors of an American who spends his time partnering with tribal communities in west Pakistan to build schools for their children instead of bombs for war. The second is written by an Afghan school director, who advocates for haste in the implementation of high-quality universal education  for Afghanistan before the American military withdraws and an abundance of aid workers leaves with them. The articles argue, as Kristof concludes in his well-written editorial, that education "has done more to advance U.S. interests [around the world] than the entire
military and foreign policy apparatus" of the current or previous administrations.

In this spirit I hope to draw attention to the cause of a similarly-minded organization called the Kroo Bay Initiative (KBI). KBI’s mission captures the heart of the above-mentioned articles, namely that education is the key to a host of development needs, including but not limited to economic opportunity, conflict prevention and resolution, progressively sound public health, even democratization processes. It is an organization that seeks to advance attainable peace and hope through goodwill endeavors in a vast slum located in one of the world’s poorest countries (the poorest, according to the UN Human Development Index): Sierra Leone.

The name of the slum is Kroo Bay, the organization’s namesake, a community of over 6,000 displaced Sierra Leoneans immersed in refuse, corrugated metal, and pollution delivered from upstream. It is emblematic of displaced communities and slums everywhere, places where mortality rates skyrocket and preventable diseases fester, and which contrast sharply with Millennium Development Goals.

KBI’s mission is to give hope to Kroo Bay’s children through the assurance of a high-quality education. Goals include:

  • restoring existing schools and constructing new ones
  • providing school supplies to students who need them
  • comprehensively covering school fees
  • supplementing the salaries of underfunded teachers, who often live without pay for months

KBI’s mission is nothing more than the eradication of Kroo Bay — a symbol of slum-living and extreme poverty — through the assurance of high-quality universal education for children who would otherwise mature lacking it.

If you’re interested in KBI’s endeavors, I invite you to learn more about the organization by visiting its website here: http://kbinitiative.org/default.aspx. You can also send an email to kroobay@gmail.com.

Maybe if we can support universal primary education worldwide, we can have peace. And to quote John F. Kennedy:

"Let us think of
education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in
each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be
translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our
nation."

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