From the devastating earthquakes in Haiti, the educational institutions were destroyed. It will take time to rebuild and reestablish the country. This horrible disaster has not only shaken the Haitian nation, but the world. “Education is at the core of Haiti’s recovery and is the key to Haiti’s development,” said Director-General Irina Bokova of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. The younger generation will become the future leaders of Haiti. They will be responsible for planning, rebuilding, and reestablishing the country.
Although classes are not in session, many Haitian students are laying and repairing their nation’s foundation. Marc Lacey describes how students are putting their education to work, in the New York Times article, Education Was Also Leveled by Quake in Haiti. He writes, “Future doctors are pitching in at field hospitals and helping arrange a major vaccination campaign. Psychology students are talking with displaced people about how they are holding up. Ms. Julme, who studied communication, managed to get a job at the United Nations radio station, although she focuses on music, not news, to get her mind, and the minds of her listeners, off of all the awful things that have occurred.”
Students from various fields and career programs are contributing to the relief effort. They are not employing their skills to earn a high salary or to be promoted. They are simply volunteering to help their friends, family, and neighbors recover and rebuild. The ultimate goal of education is to improve society. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “…education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life.” Amidst the wreckage and ruined buildings, people make new goals.
They may be simply to survive. Many are worried about their future and their families. Those who can and know how to help can step forward. They can teach others how to help each other. There is the old saying that it is better to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish. This simple declaration is true. Those who are educated, no matter what field or skill, can help society improve.
We learn in the classroom not to just land a good job, but to help humanity. The skills we learn in school are life saving skills. You may ask yourself how your skills or your career could help you if you were in their situation. You may think to yourself how you could help others. Whatever your skills or talents, they are needed. It takes artists to find and create beauty. It takes engineers to prepare and build safe structures. It takes police officers to maintain peace. Education is helping Haiti recover. The Haitian society will be rebuilt. It is our duty wherever we live to develop our skills and use them to benefit humanity. Education is not just the means to advance our careers. It enables us to live and work together as a nation and as a world. How can your education help humanity?