”The greater their ignorance, the stronger their opinion.” –Ken Follett, Edge of Eternity
I grew up rich enough to travel anywhere I wanted to go. This was because my mother read to me. She introduced me to libraries and got me a library card. Thus, I was free to travel back and forth through time. I could explore any culture, anywhere on earth or in space anytime I wanted to do so. My mother claims I recovered from pneumonia the day after I finished reading Gone with the Wind. That’s probably true.
On a recent trip to El Salvador I got acquainted with eleven-year-old Wendy. We read a bi-lingual version of Cat in the Hat together. She corrected my Spanish reading; I corrected her English reading. Through a combination of both languages, I learned she loves to read and has zero books in her home. Nor does she have access to a library. As a serious read-a-holic, this was heart breaking news to me.
I have a young friend, Pastor Brad Otto, who travelled to Ethiopia and had a similar experience. School children trying to learn without books. He decided to do something more than feel bad about this situation. He launched Acts of Wisdom, “a faith based non-profit organization dedicated to assist those in rural Africa in their quest to obtain quality, relevant education.” Their goal is to get books into the hands of school children so they can learn their way out of the poverty and violence plaguing far too many of the world’s youngest people.
Pastor Otto explains how Acts of Wisdom came to be. “I can’t imagine what it’s like not have access to quality education. I was a dreamer for as long as I can remember, and I always knew that I could do or be anything I wanted.
“In college I had the opportunity to go to Latin America. We worked at an orphanage. One little boy named Jimmy wanted to be a teacher. Sadly, that dream wouldn’t come true for him, and it doesn’t come true for many children around the world. I saw this same thing on my trip to Ethiopia in 2013.
“With that desire in my heart, I started Acts of Wisdom. We’re all looking to make a difference in our world and I believe that by focusing on education, we’re going to make the most substantial impact. The world is made up of these important social connections and if you foster them positively, they’ll pay huge dividends – in love, care, and a better world. Peace begins with education.”
Acts of Wisdom raises funds to purchase books in-country. This provides income for local people while expanding learning resources for local children. Annual trips to purchase and deliver the books are also opportunities for people in the States to see firsthand the need and the gratitude for the partnership.
Grinding poverty and violence is a way of life for far too many people. The reality could be modified, if not eliminated, if more people of influence would read all about it and learn the on-going causes of poverty. I recently found this quote from Ken Follett’s Edge of Eternity. “The greater their ignorance, the stronger their opinion.”
Poverty and cruel violence continue, in part, because people of influence remain ignorant about the injustices causing these problems. The greater their ignorance, the greater their opinion it’s not their problem and there is nothing they can do resolve the problem.
Reading will not cure every problem. Action is required for that. But reading is a great starting place on the journey toward a more just society for all God’s children of every tribe and race.
Thanks for taking time to read this. Learn more about Acts of Wisdom at www.actsofwisdom.com.