We believe that stories are powerful. Stories help us empathize with others, view the world through their eyes, and feel their pain or happiness. Moreover, stories can offer the writer a sense of agency and empowerment, especially in times of crisis. With technology and the internet, the writer’s unique voice can be heard and valued across the world like never before.
In 2014, the International Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) hosted an essay contest. Youth across the world were asked to respond to one of the following prompts: what has education meant to me in an emergency? Why is education in emergencies important? Hundreds of essays in multiple languages were submitted.
From the essay contest, INEE highlighted twelve powerful youth stories. In these stories, you’ll come face to face with people like Lola, a 19 year old from Indonesia, who was able to access education because of teachers who would not leave despite floods, air pollutants, and volcanic eruptions. You’ll meet Mahikan Desiree, who, as a young refugee fleeing her classroom-turned-war zone in the Ivory Coast, said that her “access to education during emergencies allowed us to be equals to people of our age who live in peace.”
While each story shares a unique experience, one theme is constant: the importance of education during crisis.
At Digital Promise Global, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to learn and everyone can be a globally connected learner. These twelve youth stories exemplify both of these principles, putting a human face on the importance of universal access to education.
Explore the stories and get inspired here.
Darren is the Summer Program Intern at Digital Promise Global.
Photo Credit: United Nation Photos, “Kosovo Refugees.” Licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).