Amidst the “groundhog day” of school routine – lunch making, bag packing, drop off and pick up – it can be easy to take what we have for granted.
My children have access to an excellent education and quality facilities, just five minutes down our street. For my children – and for me, for that matter – an education has always been simply considered part of life. There has never been any doubt or opposition. I was always encouraged to go as far as I could with my schooling – I will encourage my daughter to do the same.
So the opportunity to write a heartfelt letter for ActionAid Australia for their Christmas Appeal, on behalf of 15-year-old Faith, a student at Makima Primary School, Kenya, was an absolute wake up call for me.
No matter what our complaints are about our government and their policies, we are so blessed to live in a country where an education is a right, not a privilege. Here, there is no daily battle against long-held patriarchal values and social norms that result in girls like Faith missing school due to inequality, injustice and often, horrific violence.
In writing this piece, along with an accompanying letter from Juliana, a Year Three teacher at the school, I was able to practice what I like to call immersive writing, where I literally hear the voices of my subject as I write. It’s an intense creative process for me – and a process that I love with a passion. This is where I truly become the storyteller, able to step into another world for a moment and help bring to life the story of someone who desperately needs to be heard.
Both letters were created for ActionAid Australia from interviews and background research about Faith, her family and her community.
Every now and then, we need to step away from our daily lives and be reminded about what we should be truly grateful for. This heartbreaking story has given me an insight into Faith’s world – and a new appreciation for my own.
If you would like to know more about ActionAid Australia’s life-changing Junior Farmer Field School Program, you might like to consider supporting this campaign. Visit https://support.actionaid.org.au/FaithAppeal_