Not Everyone Gets to Go to School!
Back to school season is upon us!
Most of us are lucky to be able to go to school. But did you know that in some places around the world, school isn’t so easily accessible?
In Kenya, where our author Lela Goldsmith is from, school isn’t free and can be too expensive for some families. Lela’s own mother lived this reality.
Lela’s latest book, called Not Too Little to Make a Difference, is inspired by Lela’s mother, Sofia.
Sofia grew up in Lamu (a small island off the coast of Kenya) after Kenya gained independence in 1963. It was a fresh start for the country, but most common people didn’t trust the government nor the school system. Only the elite sent their children to schools.
Sofia’s older brothers harboured a deep distrust for formal education and were against sending her to school. The cost of tuition was another factor in the decision. Many students would have to stop going to school if their family's finances got tight and would instead help their parents at home and at work.
Despite Sofia’s desire to attend school, her family decided against it. She would watch girls her age walk to school and gaze at their uniforms and backpacks with longing. She felt that an injustice had been done to her.
Sofia spent her girlhood in Lamu, attended Quran school, and helped with the family business of selling mofas.
Sofia grew up to be a strong woman. She married an American and sent her children, Lela and her siblings, to school and then to to college in the United States. While her own children did their homework, Sofia practiced her handwriting and her reading, and finally learned the skills she desperately desired as a child.
Lela’s newest book celebrates the blessing of education: even when it seems out of reach, it’s worth the struggle.
Let’s give this school year our best effort, and pray that Allah allows us to excel, and use our skills for the betterment of ourselves and those around us! May Allah make it easy for us all.