Friendship Pins for Education
Mar 29, 2011When Maddison Melquist '11 began studying primary education in developing regions of the world, she was struck by the power of a few years of schooling.
"Education affects everything from child health to gender equality," she says. "Basic math, reading and writing skills make such a difference."
She and three other students – Taryn Brown '11, Nicholle Clouse '13 and Karen Erickstad '11 – studied universal primary education as part of their work in Dr. Peter Hovde's political science course on global sustainability issues.
Achieving universal primary education, which includes kindergarten through third grade, is one of eight Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2000.
Concordia students discovered that about 69 million school-age children aren't in school. Nearly half of those children live in sub-Saharan Africa, an area that needs twice as many teachers as it currently has to reach the education goal by 2015.
"We take education for granted," says Brown. "In many countries, schooling isn't readily available or, if it is, the school fees are too expensive."
To raise awareness and funds about universal primary education, the four students organized a sale of friendship pins. Proceeds go to PACODES, a nonprofit founded by a Concordia alumnus who is building a library in Southern Sudan.
"Southern Sudan is an area that has struggled to meet the development goals," Melquist says. "The community where PACODES is building the library has 1 percent literacy."
A library is one step toward getting children – and adults – excited about learning basic skills.
"Over and over again we've heard how important education is to peoples' health, their ability to vote and prosper," Brown says. "This is one small way for us to help."
Watch the video.