18th November 2016, the day I sat up on my bed and thanked the immense amount of support I had received from the people who have always cared for me. I realized how grateful I was for having the basic necessity that was considered as a luxurious non affordable lifestyle in many parts of the world. I was given the right to primary education.
I had a very long and overwhelming day which I eagerly was looking forward to. 11 years later they called me back, this time with a motive. A powerful motive. The school from where I had attained my primary education celebrated 25 years of fine grooming for children.
I would be lying if I didn’t say many of my strengths in me today was the result of the immense efforts of the faculty that worked at Kindergarten Starters (KGS). I have always believed that primary education plays a magnificent role in your upbringing and personality. Let me put across my example,I still remember when I was standing behind the humongous stage ready to give my first speech, I had to step up when the lights turned green, that was the instructions given to me.
My palms were sweaty and the mike kept slipping off my hands, I could hear the crowd like I used to see on television award shows. It was my first elocution competition. I had to speak for 12 mins. The 12 mins felt like 12 days, never ending with non stop sweating, panting and fumbling. Do you really expect a 11 year old to speak on a stage for the first time with 200 unknown faces staring at her? No, never. She just wants to run home and cuddle in her mom’s arms.
What made me stand there? The teachers that went an extra mile when they saw the potential in me. They gathered the faculty before the D-Day and made me stand on that stage and let me speak. Till date I have hosted and anchored for more than 20 events and got a chance to be featured on various broadcasting platforms. Every time I step onto the stage or in front of the camera today, I think of the 11 year old. It only makes me speak with greater confidence. I’m not a genius, I don’t have extra powers, what I had was the right people to groom me.I strongly believe my primary education formed the foundation of my character.
During the past 55 years, the GEMS community, which includes the students of KGS (250,000), parents, teachers and staff (20,000), raised over 40 million US Dollars for charities around the world. I am proud not only to say that I was an ex-student who is proudly working towards my goals but also to realize I got an opportunity to help them send so many children to go to school and establish themselves. KGS always have been laying foundation for children since 1990 to grow, explore and become global learners. All the money raised at the carnival that day was sent to Dubai Cares. Dubai Cares, is a global humanitarian organization that works immensely towards sending children to school to acquire their primary education and also conducts comprehensive education programs in 45 countries across the globe.
I was sitting on that very stage, after years, thinking of which made me proud that so many children might have faced their fears, just like me but at the same time it kills me from inside when I realize that even though there are many organizations like Dubai Cares, giving their 200% in bringing a change, yet 124 million children and young adolescents don’t go to school, 250 million cannot read and write!
These numbers here, may not seem big on your mobile and laptop screens, but these are numbers to fear of. Put together they are more than the population of the United States. Imagine a country full of people who are living with only one motive – to die. No jobs, no education, no government, no goals.
Primary Education is the key to investing in human capital and building a society that can overcome many challenges and struggles. I do not expect you to be motivated and to spend thousands on charitable organizations, trusts and events. Instead I would be glad if you took time to visit these children and teach them a poem or tell them the story of powerful leader who conquered the world with his honesty and not violence, like I did. That’s what those children need, your time, not your money or old clothes.
Let all of them conquer the world. Everything beneath the sun is under our control. Believe me.
The best thing you could gift a child is knowledge. Share it with them, even if it is limited. At KGS, I brought a smile on the 8 year old Shawn’s face. Now it’s your turn.