Erin Richards is a Welsh born actress and activist currently starring as Barbara Kean on Fox’s Gotham. She is a Global Citizen Ambassador and will be serving as a guest editor for Global Citizen’s month long spotlight on Education in August.
I’m so thrilled to be editing Global Citizen during August, for its month-long focus on Education.
My relationship with education has been a rocky one. I’m dyslexic, but because all my lessons in school were taught in Welsh (the native language of my home country, Wales), it wasn't discovered until I was much older. This left me feeling stupid, especially in English class where I was embarrassed to read out loud because I would often pronounce words wrong. My confidence was shattered, and for a long time (until I received help for my dyslexia) I felt inadequate.
This pales in comparison to what a child who has received little or no education feels. To receive an education is to receive a future. It gives children a blank page on which they can write anything: a short story, a math equation, blue-prints for a rocket launcher…! Education gives children both the hope and ability to become anything they choose.
The truth is, if you're reading this, you were probably handed all that hope without ever thinking about it. I’d never considered it myself until I sat down to write this. I can’t imagine how it would feel to never know that freedom, never develop that self-confidence, never have that chance at life.
In her speech last month to the Oslo Education Summit, Malala Yousafzai drew attention to the 62 million girls in the world who have no access to education; to a future. She talked about how it would take just 39 billion US dollars a year (the equivalent of eight days’ worth of global military spending), to ensure that every child receives 12 years of free primary and secondary school education.
It would be fair to ask at this point: “What about the child down the street from me who's suffering? Shouldn't I help them first?”
In her speech in Oslo, Malala said: “Think of the world’s children as our children.” I believe we are one world. We must raise ourselves together as one people.
Educating the world:
- • Improves lifelong earning potential
- • Lifts entire communities out of poverty
- • Keeps people healthy
- • Creates gender equality, and
- • Can reduce extremism and violence
That’s the world I want to live in.
Let's make Malala’s #BooksNotBullets a reality for every child in our world.
If you feel moved to take action on this issue, you can sign the petition in TAKE ACTION NOW at the bottom of this article, asking world leaders to guarantee universal access to education for all children. This is our main goal this month, so please ask your friends to sign it and share on social media with the hashtag: #GlobalCitizen
Further to this, each day in August, I’ll be posting inspiring stories, videos, public engagement initiatives and special chances to win tickets to the Global Citizens Festival! on the website and through my twitter account: @ErinRRichards.
Below is a selection of stories to get you started:
- • Extending education to all will literally save lives- here's how
- • The issue that's affecting schoolchildren around the world
- • The UK builds schools, fills classrooms to get kids educated
Let’s take action together to educate all our world’s children.