Education Not Aid

January 11, 2012
By LouLou1993 BRONZE, Oak Creek, Colorado
LouLou1993 BRONZE, Oak Creek, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

“Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” You have more than likely heard this tired expression, but it is more than just an expression. Like most children’s stories, this expression holds a life lesson, which if used right could save many lives and money. Consider this expression when thinking of world hunger. The number of people across the world starving in 2010 was estimated at 925 million, only 19 million of which were from developed countries. This compelling statistic comes from While these men, women and children of undeveloped countries starve to death many in the United States throw away enough food to feed these people for a lifetime. We try to fix the problem by not being as wasteful and giving what we can. However, the cure to world hunger and starvation isn’t just a food drive that donates food to third world countries, but rather teaching them how to produce their own food.
Compare the United States years ago with a third world country of today. What are the similarities you see? For the United States years ago you see a group of people who doesn’t expect to live past the age of fifty and a people who believes illness and disease to be a sign of bad luck. For most third world countries today this is still prominent. The living conditions are so poor that the life expectancy rates are extremely low. This is not helped by the fact that medical and other scientific advances are rare and slow coming. By not giving these people of third world countries an education on the modern world of science and technology, they stay stuck behind with minimal progress.
One could argue that these countries will advance in their own time without assistance, after all countries like the U.S. and China did. There is one factor one must keep in mind, though. Why are we as advanced as we are today? The answer is competition. The majority of wealthy countries today had the competition from other countries to become more advanced. Consider the space race or the race to create the atomic bomb. These things pushed the United States to progress at an incredible pace. Third world countries today are so far behind the pace that they cannot strive to be the first to invent medical concepts or be the first to walk on the moon.
I am not saying that we need to go into a country and change their culture or demand they must worship the same way as we do. We also should not overtake these countries for our own personal use which happened in the colonial era. History has shown that this only results in complication and further resentment towards the U.S. These people need an education on agricultural sustainability and advances in modern medicine. “That better education would overcome ignorance and open the way for individuals to lead richer lives, to establish better social relationship within communities, and so enable the local communities to gain in self-respect and become more democratic and responsible, more able to take initiatives for their own improvement and to become more outward looking.” Marjorie Jones, a professor at the University of Lesley, wrote this crucial factor and many more on the very same idea that education is the true answer.
As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we have the desire to help others who are less fortunate than ourselves. To clear our consciences, we clean out our cupboards or donate money to programs that then distribute them around the world. What we do not realize, however, is that we are helping the short-term timeline for these people but we are setting them up for greater failure. By feeding these countries until they are healthy and then stopping, we allow them to reproduce to the point where their land can no long support the population. Then, once this happens, starvation takes over again. This has become an endless cycle where, one could say, the U.S. is only solving one problem: clearing their consciences. The United States has become a country of fast cars, fast food, and instant messaging. We strive to get the job done in a short time frame. If there are short cuts we generally take them. The problem with this, however, is that we want to solve all the problems and want to do it in the fastest and easiest way possible. For this reason we believe that dropping off food and other needed supplies to other countries we improve the standard of living for those who are less fortunate than us. Slowing down to truly assess the problem will help us find the right solution. It is time to take the time to actually fix the problem instead of putting a Band-aid over it. If the United States of America wants to help third world countries, we need to build schools, employ adequate teachers and teach these people how to sustain themselves, instead of making them dependent on us.

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