Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Joy of knowledge

I had two letters today from kids at St Jude's. One was about Mr Sebastian and the other about Miss Genofeva – two of the teachers we sponsor at the school.

It is always great to get a letter from the kids. The kids letters come as those blue aerograms that I remember using so often when traveling and living overseas when younger. I guess that email has replaced the old aerogram for long distance writing in most parts of the world. So these blue aerograms trigger a host of foreign memories for me.

The kids' letters are mostly of the polite kind – like the thank you letters to aunts for unremarkable Christmas presents.

But the letter about Mr Sebastian really touched me, because the writer commented on the recent earthquakes in Northern Tanzania. She said that Mr Sebastian had previously taught the class about earthquakes and "we have already understood about that".

How knowledge transforms us! What a precious thing it is to understand the world we live in. How valuable this is – yet here in Australia we take it for granted because every child goes to school and learns vast amounts besides basic literacy and numeracy.

Support for the School of St Jude is the means by which hundreds of bright children from poor families can receive these gifts of understanding. The children of Tanzania can't get a basic education because the government does not collect enough tax revenue to cover the cost of even the basics. We have to take this on, and make a contribution. How else will these children learn to read and write, and understand what causes the earth to shake from time to time?

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