Champions of the Global Goals: Claire Minor
Sustainable Development Goal #4, Quality Education, covers a broad range of targets. Creating equal and accessible education for youth is important, but it is equally important to promote education for all. Literacy is a foundation for education, but it is also one of the largest hurdles for a significant population of the world including adults.
For the past couple years now, I have been volunteering with a local literacy organization called LIFT – Literacy Instruction For Texas. Every week, for a couple of hours, I teach an English class to immigrants and refugees. When I started teaching, it was with aspirations of going abroad and teaching English for a couple of months in a tropical environment. Then, I became more invested in the program and the students. I began to see the impact I was having in my own community; I didn’t need to go any farther than five minutes from my home to make a difference half a world away.
We start each term with the students introducing themselves; this is where the storytelling begins. You’ll meet the Persian grandmother who wants to talk with her grandchildren that only speak English. There’s at least one husband that is hoping for a promotion in order to get better insurance for his pregnant wife. Then there are the mothers, who wish to help their children with their homework. The mothers always tend to make up more than half the class. There was once a trio of young sisters from South Asia that came with dreams of continuing their education in order to better advocate for women within their country.
The class lasts two hours, but I find myself coming early every week to tutor for the citizenship test and staying late to set up fundraising pages to help family members rejoin each other in the U.S. Achieving literacy is just the start of opportunities for these individuals. They’ve come so far already, and they still have a ways to go before they will view their work as complete.
As I’ve come to know the students more and more over the terms, I’ve begun to see the ripple effect their education was having. It wasn’t ever for their own betterment they attended these classes. They came for their spouses, their children, their grandchildren. They came so they could help family members that were left behind and still fighting injustices, they came to form a foundation upon which to build their future, and they came to start a new life in the hopes of improving others’ opportunities. And it’s all happening in the community room of the public library.
I am an advocate for quality education for all. By providing an education for one individual, you are enabling the education of all the lives touched by that individual. Education is empowerment and making that kind of empowerment accessible will change the world.
Learn more about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and see how you can support Goal 4 – Quality Education.