The world faces two evils, poverty and illiteracy, together they feed the fire of extremism and people all over the world suffer as a result of the terrorism and violence that arises out of these evils.
Many try to tackle extremism and terrorism, the symptoms of the underlying evil of illiteracy and poverty, even at a country level we have seen regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq and now perhaps Pakistan and Iran as well. What have been the results of such “wars”? Trillions wasted on arms and ammunition, thousands of houses destroyed and people killed on both sides, whilst the hate prophets survived and to this day thrive!
One needs to ask some intelligent questions which President Obama and his team did, like “Did the “anti American” sentiment in Afghanistan and Iraq taper-off after the wars?” “Are there less Jihadis created today?”
We all know the answer. Killing people and forcing lifestyle changes did not, does not and will not ever solve the problems, it will definitely compound them.
My solution to tackle this menace is not through arms nor a culture change, in fact it is through education and livelihood.
I was born and brought up in Pakistan, in my jobs and on vacations, I toured the country side and rural areas quite a lot, had a chance to spend time with the locals, would even be reduced to tears, sometimes, looking at the abject poverty in which 90% of the rural and urban population lived, without access to education, health care, job opportunities, misused by politicians at election time, the head honchos acting as gondas and killers to get “votes” and protect the establishment. As I grew up, travelled the world and studied, I realized Pakistan was not the only one, it was one of the many poverty ridden countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Russia and Eastern Europe, where these circumstances drove some to terrorism, others to sell their children or even their body parts, (many would have their daughters work as prostitutes, sell kidneys of their children, sell small kids to be “Jockeys” to get killed before they are old enough to attend primary school!) There are people SO poor they have 10 kids and can’t look after or feed them! Let alone “education”, you give them ONE US DOLLAR and that’s what they earn in days in some cases!
How will REAL CHANGE come about?And the IMF, World Bank, Super Powers, and all power groups view it ONLY as an EXTREMISM problem? IGNORING the LEADERSHIP of the terrorist homeground countries that are CORRUPT and enjoy the bounties of AID and SUPPORT that further deepens their national debts, their currencies devalue to toilet paper style, but it doesn’t send any wake up call? A terrorist blowing him or herself up does, a swine flu epidemic does. Haven’t we learnt the meaning of “PROACTIVE PROBLEM SOLVING yet as a UNITED GLOBAL LEADERSHIP? CAN’T ALL THE SUPERPOWERS COME TOGETHER WITH A COMMON STRATEGY TO CLEAN THIS MESS WHICH IS MORE TO DO WITH POVERTY AND ILLITERACY THAN ANYTHING ELSE?? Ridiculous, isn’t it?
When we RECOGNIZE and ACCEPT that we live in an INTER-DEPENDENT WORLD (read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective people or google it up to get the scoop on it) – every action does have an equal and opposite reaction. Excess corrupt spending by third world leaders supported by the first world leadership and institutions, on their own safety and lavish lifestyles in collusion with businesses and their government establishment, is short sighted and will only get us this far!
The answer lies in helping the underprivileged get basic skills & education and earn a livelihood. And how does one do that?
LEARN2EARN is my answer.
I volunteer for Pakistan, and attract others to join me in this global fight against the ROOT cause of hatred and terrorism today. The road map is as follows:
- Area focus: Villages, each village is a “unit”
- For each “unit” get cultivable land
- Construct a low cost, basic facilities school cum boarding lodge for the children
- The children work and study in shifts
- They work on the farm able land in the early morning, as it gets hot, they move inside, rest a bit, start classes, eat, nap
- Evening, they help in chores, go through combined reading classes, group work that sustains the place as well as educates them
- Every 3-4 months there will be a harvest
- They money from the harvest should be able to sustain the school, give some profit to financiers AND some income to the students! So the students will ACTUALLY send money home every month, WHILE studying!
- In an environment like Pakistan, this will BREAK all barriers, religious or otherwise (misnomers obviously) that hold parents from sending kids to school
- Note to those who cry “child labour” well, if you say that, these kids are going through HELL in their own homes, go to one village, compare the lifestyle then compare what we are going to give them instead, which is a decent education, work that is akin to necessary exercise and a safe environment to grow
- Operationally, depending on area we could have co-ed or separate sections, girls can work on cottage industries, boys on farming, we could have a live-in Doctor at each premises as part of hospitals’ social commitment, we could generate our own windmill or solar energy, each school could, in short, be a model replica for the world
Eureka, with time we are on our way to solve this crisis!
Now who is with me on it?
I need funding, I need volunteers, I need people who believe, I need people who can take it up, my dream is to have the Super Powers, NATO, IMF, World Bank, ADB, Islamic Development Bank, donors besides UN and other such giants FUND such initiatives on a standardized templates, though business activities can be different (cottage industries in some places). And you know what? I am confident our students can ACTUALLY give them a profit on their investment, so here is a GRASS ROOTS answer to the recession as well as terrorism. Remember, I have ideas, but that’s ALL I have, a family to support and challenges maybe worse than what you face, and yet the DREAM OF A BETTER TOMORROW FOR THE WHOLE WORLD KEEPS ME GOING. If you can’t help me, PLEASE PRAY FOR ME.
Join us, we need you, the children need you, our combined future needs.
Join me in making this dream come true.Imran Owais Kazmi http://imranokazmi.wordpress.com