> Inspiring Change in the World through Education
19th of July 2021
Nelson Mandela International Day is a call to action to making the world a better place. It was established in November 2009 by the UN General Assembly to recognise the iconic leader and his contributions to pursuing freedom, justice and peace. He is noted for many achievements that include being a human rights lawyer, freedom fighter, international peacemaker and first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.
He is also known for his advocacy of education. As a young student and throughout his long life, Mandela continued to educate himself, even while imprisoned, and inspired his fellow inmates to do the same. He recalled that “At night, our cell block seemed more like a study hall than a prison… Robben Island was known as ‘The University’… because of what we learnt from each other.” In one of his most memorable statements he argues:
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Education is the first step for people to gain the knowledge, critical thinking, empowerment and skills they need to make this world a better place.”
At READ Foundation – education is at the heart of everything we do and Nelson Mandela’s inspirational message of empowerment through learning and action resonates with our work. The importance of education is now perhaps more important than ever as hundreds of millions of children around the world are out of school and lack basic reading, writing and numeracy skills.
Our schools and learning facilities provide high quality education to the some of the world’s most vulnerable children in refugee camps and impoverished communities. We continue to promote learning for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Yemen, Lebanon, Turkey, Bangladesh and have built over 390 schools in Pakistan and Kashmir and to date have educated 59,855 students.
The fight against poverty continues. Nelson Mandela believed “One hand can feed the other” and said:
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”
Help READ Foundation to continue fighting poverty by providing education, inspiring and supporting a future generation of leaders who can rebuild their countries and a better world.