January – World Education Day
Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me;
I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to sceptres and thrones,
and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her.
Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem,
because all gold is but a little sand in her sight,
and silver will be accounted as clay before her.
I loved her more than health and beauty,
and I chose to have her rather than light,
because her radiance never ceases.
All good things came to me along with her,
and in her hands uncounted wealth.
I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom leads them;
but I did not know that she was their mother.
I learned without guile and I impart without grudging;
I do not hide her wealth,
for it is an unfailing treasure for men;
those who get it obtain friendship with God,
commended for the gifts that come from instruction.
Reflection by Shannon Philip, International Programmes Officer
The Jesuit primary school in Mbare township in Zimbabwe is one of the most impoverished schools in the country. The students at the school come from the neighbouring township and often from deprived and troubled families. For many of them books are a luxury that they do not enjoy at home. At the school the Jesuits run a programme called Happy Readers to encourage school children with poor reading skills to improve their levels of reading and to inspire them. On World Education Day it seems appropriate to reflect on the value of books and the gift of reading that are so often taken for granted by many of us. For the school children of Mbare, the books provided by the school represent not just their hopes for a better future, but they are also an invaluable gift for them within the context of their hardships and challenges.
‘So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.’ – Roald Dahl, Matilda
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