Access to a quality education was once described to me as the “key to life.” Having grown up in Australia, where earning an education was a luxury I could take for granted, it was sometimes easy to forget the significance of what going to school really meant. Yet in countries where there are so few doors of opportunity, education is not seen simply as a preparation for life—it really is life itself—and the first step on the ladder out of extreme poverty.
In 2000, the world made a promise that children everywhere would have access to primary education by 2015. Thanks to the work of groups like the Global Partnership for Education, the good news is, we’re 90 percent of the way there. The number of children who do not go to school has reduced by 43 million since 2000.
But in recent years, momentum has stalled. 57 million children — 1 in 10 children globally — still go through life without a basic primary education. An additional 250 million children who are in school are thought to be learning very little in practice. And funding for basic education has been cut back.
The facts could not paint a clearer picture. On our current trajectory, the world will break the promise we made to children everywhere at the dawn of the century.
Get Down is a six-week energetic and interactive online dance competition to raise awareness for the issue of primary education access around the world. Starting today, you can join me, and the New York Jets Flight Crew Cheerleaders, by creating a short 15-30 second dance video, uploading it to the Get Down platform, and sharing it with your friends.
Through the campaign, we’ll fundraise to support the Cotton On Foundation as they build schools, give scholarships to children who would not otherwise have access to an education, pay for new teacher programs, and more. Since 2007, they’ve helped educate over 4,300 children and primary school pass rates have significantly increased. And with additional resources, the Cotton On Foundation will be able to educate 20,000 people in Southern Uganda by 2020.
Ultimately, in signing up to Get Down, participants will not just be helping to make inroads in alleviating the education crisis, but also in reducing extreme poverty itself. It’s simple: education improves livelihoods; educated people find better jobs; a good education gives children confidence to face the future. It offers them a chance for a better life - a chance to lead a life as a human being with dignity.
Indeed, the UN estimates that if all students in low-income countries had basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. That’s equivalent to a 12 percent cut in global poverty, proving that education is the bedrock that people can use to break free from the shackles of extreme poverty.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up to #GetDown and help answer the call of parents everywhere for the schooling their children deserve.
This project is part of GOOD's series Push for Good—our guide to crowdsourcing creative progress.