Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Power of Education

I know it's not as simple. Education does not necessarily bring empowerment. But when you read Tererai's story, it's difficult not to think otherwise:

After much argument, the father allowed Tererai to attend school for a couple of terms, but then married her off at about age 11.

Tererai’s husband barred her from attending school, resented her literacy and beat her whenever she tried to practice her reading by looking at a scrap of old newspaper. Indeed, he beat her for plenty more as well. She hated her marriage but had no way out. “If you’re a woman and you are not educated, what else?” she asks.

Yet when Jo Luck came and talked to Tererai and other young women in her village, Luck kept insisting that things did not have to be this way. She kept saying that they could achieve their goals, repeatedly using the word “achievable.” The women caught the repetition and asked the interpreter to explain in detail what “achievable” meant.


After Luck and her entourage disappeared, Tererai began to study on her own, in hiding from her husband, while raising her five children. Painstakingly, with the help of friends, she wrote down her goals on a piece of paper: “One day I will go to the United States of America,” she began, for Goal 1. She added that she would earn a college degree, a master’s degree and a Ph.D. — all exquisitely absurd dreams for a married cattle herder in Zimbabwe who had less than one year’s formal education. But Tererai took the piece of paper and folded it inside three layers of plastic to protect it, and then placed it in an old can. She buried the can under a rock where she herded cattle.

Read the rest of Tererai's story in this New York Times Magazine essay titled The Women's Crusade (excerpted from a forthcoming book titled "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn). Her story and the stories of some of the other women profiled in the essay are exhilarating.


Kavi said...

Thanks for sharing. I was looking for something like this...


The excerpts appear very alluring.

sujata said...

That was a very long break Sujatha missed you around here. An exceptional story, some people are so determined, its very inspiring!

iamyuva said...

and we are blessed..

Nancy said...

Fascinating, I've read this over and over again - educate and allow women to take care of finances and the world will be a better place. Thanks for sharing this.

Sands said...

inspiring& amazing. Good to have you back :)

Lola said...

Welcome back dear friend, and a million thanks for your lovely review!

This is wonderful, thank you for making my day with this incredible piece of Hope.

~Lola xx

Sylvia K said...

So good to see you back, Sujatha! I've missed you! I've been out of town and just got home, so was delighted to find this truly inspiring story -- thanks for sharing it!

Enjoy your weekend!


praveenben said...

I salutes the spirit of that women. But it is not "the power of education". Had the power of education have any significant impact on the society there would not be any dowry deaths,acid attacks on women and starvation deaths.

Infact the present education made us insensitive and indifferent.

We become selfish and do not care about our fellow man. Educated people are not free from caste system,regionalism,corruption.............
I always pray for resurgence of human spirited people. I therefore salute once again the spirit that women.
I must appreciate your inspiring reaction on that story.

Pradeep said...

Hi Sujatha, how are you?

One thing is about being literate, another being educated, and the third is turing all that one has learnt into something that's productive and positive. It's difficult to explin, but stories like this add a refreshing perspective. Thanks for sharing the story.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Seems many have missed you. Looking forward to more of your posts.

Reading stories such as this makes me upset with myself when I think of what I've decided I can't do.

DotThoughts said...

I am about to read the whole article.. but the synopsis gave me goose bumps. Thanks for sharing!

Debbie said...

Wow. That is riveting! I can't wait to read more.

IEDig said...
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Lipi said...

Amazing....thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. When can we ever embrace reality and work towards it ? :-(

Raksha said...

Hi Sujata

This is Raksha Bharadia.
Have been reading your blog.
Interested in writing for Chicken soup for the Indian Romantic soul? It is under the same Jack Canfield Mark Victor banner. If yes, pls email me on and i will forward the brief to you.
p.s U can Google my name

Nagesh.MVS said...
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Anonymous said...
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