Tag Archives: education

Education Advocacy: From Rwanda to Indiana

I used to think that I didn’t like government or, at least, I thought that it would be difficult for me to become involved in government. As a science major in college, I didn’t really have anything beyond your standard 6th grade knowledge on how government works. My week as an advocate for the Global Campaign for Education completely turned around my ideas about the power of government. It is powerful and citizens can use the government to advocate for change to the world.

When I first signed up to participate in the June 2015 Youth Advocacy Training, I was nervous about meeting with the representative in Congress from my home district. What would I say to a Congresswoman? However, GCE and their partners, such as the Global Partners for Education, USAID, UNICEF, and Contextos, prepared me with numbers, facts, and stories about the importance of education.

And I believe that global basic education is something we should be advocating for.

Throughout the world, 127 million children and adolescents are out of school. Without an education, these kids miss out on a better chance for good health and quality jobs, as well just an increased standard of living. Without the power to read, a child cannot even adequately read a medicine bottle or a job application. In order to fill the global education gap, $39 billion dollars is needed to fully finance 12 years of quality education for all children.

Since 2008, Books & Beyond has strived to help improve the quality of education at Kabwende Primary School in Kinigi, Rwanda. When B&B first started, our B&B predecessors visited Rwanda for one week, dropped off the volumes of The World is Our Home, toured some local attractions, and flew back home- which is good and definitely gave the students a book to read and learn vocabulary. But, we realized we were providing books, but no aid to the students or teachers on how to use the book to teach English (which had become the national language in 2008 with very little warning). So, in 2012, we instituted the Kabwende Holiday camp, a two week English and literacy camp for 200-300 students at the school each summer. By participating in this camp last summer and teaching Reader’s Theater, I realized how powerful a tool education truly is. While I did not cause any student to suddenly become fluent in English, I hope that I taught that learning and reading can be fun and maybe inspired a few students to continue to pursue knowledge.

That’s how Books & Beyond is helping to make a change across the globe, but how can we jumpstart these changes right here in the United States?

Susan W. Brooks

Abigail Hamilton (second from left) and fellow GCE advocates from across the country with Representative Susan W. Brooks

On Capitol Hill, I met with Representative Susan W. Brooks from my district in Indiana. We both shared a passion for education and a belief that education is the gateway for so many other things. Education should be a right and not a privilege given to a few. After discussing the need and our desire for global basic education, we asked Representative Brooks to consider joining the Global Basic Education Caucus in Congress. With this caucus, we hope that our government officials will also advocate for the need for universal education. With this caucus, GCE and all education advocates move a little closer to helping 127 more million children enter school.

Through GCE, I learned that government is not something unattainable, only reserved for those who strive for political office. We can all make our voices heard by knowing our facts, meeting with our representatives, writing letters, and starting advocacy campaigns. The government should truly work for its people and we can help make that happen. So, call up your representative or write a letter and let them know what matters to you and your community. You don’t have to traverse the globe to make a change. Get the change started in your community. It’s easier than you think.


Thank you to Global Campaign for Education-US and Books & Beyond for these opportunities!

And thank you to the Malala Fund Blog for previously sharing this post.



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Support the Books & Beyond Project Today!

At our partner school, Rwanda’s Kabwende Primary School, our student-authored books are usually the only books they own. For six years, our project has given 10,000 books to Kabwende Primary School. Help us give 2,000 more to students who need it!

We are raising $2,000 by March 1st. We have raised already $1,167! Help us reach our goal today by donating on our Go Fund Me page! 


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Reflections on getting over fear and obtaining the most powerful weapon

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela 

“Basically, being brave is not always doing something that you never tried before. Instead, being brave is having the courage to conquer your fear while not being afraid, forgetting about the fear. I’ve been brave when it came to conquering my fear of heights and meeting new people.” – A’Kayla, TEAM Schools student

“I have been encouraged by mentors to focus not always on aspects of life that come easily to me, but on things that I find the most difficult, things that I am afraid of. Through taking that advice and working to overcome my weaknesses and my fears, I have grown more than I ever could have by simply focusing on my strengths.” – Kailyn, IU student


A’Kayla and Kailyn editing stories from one of the editions of The World is Our Home

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela 

“The world is an enormous place, full of complex issues and vast differences in personality and way of life. At times, it can seem that our planet is so large and that the people are so different that there is truly no way to resolve all the global issues that surround us daily. That may seem true until you recognize the role that education can play. Education helps us to see the world through a different lens. One who is truly educated understands that though people are diverse, we all share a common core. We all have hopes, dreams, light and a common sense of humanity within us. We are really not so different after all, but that is impossible to understand unless we are taught about the world around us. – Samantha R., IU student

“Education is the most powerful weapon because you use your education to make a difference in the world. For example, lawyers help the world with their education by putting bad guys away. If it wasn’t for education, the world would be a bad place. This experience showed me that having education can change the world.” – Asha, TEAM Schools student

Samantha R. and Asla

Samantha R. and Asia

“Education opens doors. It’s about possibilities and opportunities. Education gives people the chance to rise above their circumstances and take control of their lives. I don’t think that the quote just means that only educated people can change the world. It means that educating the world is the best means by which to change the world. Education breaks down barriers, and by understanding the world and all of the people in it, all conflict would come to an end.” – Valerie, IU student

“What this quote means to me is that with education, we can achieve our mental and physical goals. When you are educated on important things, you need not to worry of the unnecessary. This quote can be seen in many different circumstances, such as being picked on or underestimating your abilities. As long as you have an education, you can achieve all of your goals and pursue your dreams. Education is very important because it gets you through life. It also helps you when you are going through tough times and when you’re unsuccessful.” – Asia, TEAM Schools student

B&B editing partners bond during the intensive editing workshop on Saturday, January 18

B&B editing partners bond during the intensive editing workshop on Saturday, January 18

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B&B Reflections on Passion and Inspiration

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela 

“This can be interpreted in many different ways. I believe it’s interpreted into being the biggest person you can be.” – Elijah, TEAM Schools student

B&B members bond during an intensive editing workshop on Saturday, January 18, 2014

B&B members including Laura and Elijah, bond during an intensive editing workshop on Saturday, January 18, 2014

“To me, this is extremely inspirational, it encourages me to push my limits, to enjoy each day and not let life pass me by. Everyone is capable of achieving their own definition of greatness, but those who are satisfied with the minimum, never see this.” – Laura, IU student

“It means that one shall not seek satisfaction in what is less than their capabilities. As individuals, we should strive for more than the norm.” – Michaelle, TEAM Schools student

If you could write a big movie screenplay that had the possibility of being Oscar nominated and could change the way people view the world, what would it be about? Who would be the characters?

“My movie would be about global warming and most of the environmental issues today. My characters would be: smokers, litterbugs, and hunters. They all affect the world negatively, leading to global warming issues and catastrophic events.” – Alyssa, TEAM Schools student

“My story would be about a girl born into a family of artistic and musical geniuses. She yearns to become a dentist. She has to struggle against her family and her own self-doubt as she paves her own way.” – Samantha, IU student

Alyssa and Samantha show off their art tile designs.

Alyssa and Samantha show off their art tile designs.

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Books & Beyond Newark Trip Reflections

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“This quote serves to distinguish what is included in the ideal life. Dr. King restricts the definition of the ideal life by first defining the act of living.  By making this restriction, he isolates everything worthy of contemplation to the sphere of humanity. – Kody, IU Student

“A person who only thinks about themselves cannot begin to understand the world around them until they are able to take bigger concerns into consideration – Joshua, TEAM Schools student


Joshua and Kody work on editing stories for the 7th World is Our Home anthology on Saturday, January 18, 2014.

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes…and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Rhetoric gets nothing done, while activism gets things done in real life with real consequences. To me, saying you support a cause is not the same as taking action for the cause.” – David, IU student

“Your philosophy is dependent on actions, not moods.  If you have a philosophy, take part in it, do not just say it.” – Jared, TEAM Schools student


Jared and David work on editing stories for the 7th edition of the World is Our Home anthology on Saturday, January 18, 2014

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Eat yummy noodles next Monday

Eat yummy noodles next Monday

Your meal at Noodles & Company next Monday from 5-9 p.m. will benefit Books & Beyond. 25% of sales go to the organization by mentioning Books & Beyond when you order. Bring your friends!

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March 19, 2013 · 9:42 pm

Get fresh B&B news!

Read about the Learning Express fundraiser and gain insight from a Talent Recruiter at TEAM Schools.

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March 6, 2013 · 11:42 am