Food. Shelter. Health care. Safety. Jobs.
When it comes to essentials, these are probably the first things to come to mind. You’re not alone; when most aid groups work with refugees, they make it a point to provide these resources.
David Durance of Teach Beyond would like to see education make that list.
As of last April, Durance is sitting in as Teach Beyond’s president. That means he’ll be heading up the challenge of bringing education to the voiceless, especially when it comes to refugee children. He’s also looking at the ties between education (or lack thereof) and poverty.
“One of the things that we’ve seen is the cycle of poverty and the cycle of violence, and part of what happens in that cycle is the education system either wasn’t present, breaks down, or even gets much worse,” Durance says.
This isn’t just speculation; Durance has seen the impact lack of education has on a country firsthand.
“I was just in Central Africa in a country that’s been torn apart by war for the last 10 years, and we had a chance to visit some of the schools there, and just seeing the deep need, the hunger for education that cannot be met… people, even in this context, [realize] that one of the very few avenues out of this cycle is that education needs to be provided.”
Part of the problem comes down to priorities. Most global aid groups don’t prioritize education, especially not over food, health aid, or shelter. However, Durance thinks it is still crucial to crisis care and aid efforts.
“This is actually something that struck us when we had our German office call us a few years ago and talk to the global teaching community about what was happening in their back door,” Durance explains. “This was not being thought about by the German government… and they were saying to us and to Teach Beyond Germany, ‘Hey, how can you be participating in this need?’
“That actually helped birth a whole movement within Teach Beyond to respond to this need.”
Some people are asking for help, but not everyone can.
“There’s another group of people that can even ask for help, Durance says. “There’s a group of people that can’t even articulate that they need help because they have no means of doing so.”
Education gives a voice to the voiceless, and isn’t that exactly what the Church is called to do?
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Alex Anhalt