In the wake of a disaster, there is a desperate immediate need for food, shelter, medicine and other aid. But in the longer term, entire systems may need to be rebuilt. And in that rebuilding, there may be an opportunity to make something truly positive from tragedy. I believe that this opportunity exits in Nepal today. It is an opportunity to bring education to a far larger part of the population.
To me, education is central to improving people’s lives—education and poverty coexist in a vicious cycle. Unfortunately, people who have had little or no education often don’t understand its value. I have heard some parents in rural Nepal ask why they should send their children to school just so a teacher can get a salary. They truly believe that the point is to employ the teacher. They don’t understand the link to their children’s future. However, they understand very clearly what it costs the family in the present: too much.