What would your world look like without an education? With no understanding of the words that you are reading now? An inability to understand signposts and find your way home? Not being able to write your own name? Could you imagine it? I know that I couldn't. This incredible skill, the ability to read, write and learn, is something that I take for granted every single day, because I've never had to fight for it. It's not being there has never been a real life possibility for me.
I am SO busy being stressed about all the things in my life, in my society that aren't good enough that I often forget to cast my mind to issues further afield. Which is not to say that the issues I focus on are not important, adhering to the fact that everyone's problems are relative, I will not take away from that. But, I am well aware that there are some enormous problems and that I do not necessarily do a good enough job of appreciating what I've got and how lucky I am.
Because as we've been reading about day after day for however many months now, there are so many people around the world who are not as privileged as I am, as you are, as any of us reading this post are, and some of them are literally right on our doorstep. I am talking of course about the refugee crisis, world over, and the fact that not only have they had to flee their homes in war torn countries, but that even when they reach relative safety, there are 3.6 million refugee children out of school.
But before I go on, I need you to watch this video, to see what happens to a group of Western professionals when their ability to read and write is taken from them...
This video was made by the ONE Campaign who teamed up with creative agency Don't Panic, to highlight the plight of these refugee children missing out on an education. To show us what a world without education would look like. And since at the moment only 50% of refugee children are in primary school and 25% are in secondary school, this really is so important.
Roxanne Philson, Chief Marketing Officer at ONE said: "No one can reach their full potential without an education. We wanted to make the point in the most visceral way possible. The volunteers got a small glimpse of how different their lives would be if they couldn't read or write. But for the millions of refugee children who won't get an educations it's not just scary for a few moments - it's a lifetime of missed opportunities. This can and must change."
Education is relentlessly underfunded and this video has been made with the hope of encouraging people to sign a petition ahead of both the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants and President Obama's Leaders' Summit on Refugees on 19th and 20th of September, to put education at the forefront of discussion at the summits.
I am well aware that this content differs slightly to the stuff that you are used to reading on Pretty Normal Me, but I realise that I need to use this platform for good where I can, and this is something that we should all be working our asses off to fix. I constantly despair at the state of the world that we are living in and I am so angry at how much of the press we see regarding the refugee crisis is negative. I DON'T want to get political here and unleash the can of worms that is everyone's opinion on the 'migrant crisis', but I do want to reiterate that contrary to what SOME publications would have you believe *hrrhhm Daily Mail*, on the other side of the English Channel are hundreds of thousands of people, real life people, CHILDREN, who are there because they are desperate. Refugees the world over are desperate people, who need our help. This is something so so serious and something that we CAN be doing something about.
Did you know that during a conflict, refugee girls are 2.5 times more likely to pull out of school than boys? And that one in every five registered marriages of Syrian refugee women is a child marriage? And that in Pakistan many Afghan refugee girls are taken out of school to be married as early as grade six? No, I didn't either but it broke my heart. At the moment the ratio of teachers to pupils in some refugee settings is 70:1. No wonder things like this are happening. Guys it's time we stood together to do something.
If this is successful, this will set in motion a plan to provide 1 million refugee children with an education by the end of the school year. Let's help them reach their full potential. Sign the petition here.