Education is the best weapon in the fight against poverty

Charles Olusegun is a One Young World Ambassador from Benin who advocates for care and education of orphans around the globe. He shares his personal experience as a young orphan and believes education is the most powerful weapon to save the millions of orphans and most destitute kids from poverty.  Charles launched the EducNATION Project as a result of the unique inspiration and counsels he received during the last One Young World Summit. He currently serves as the National Coordinator for the CORY Project.

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According to SOS Children’s Villages, an estimated 132 million children worldwide, ranging from infants to teenagers, have lost one or both parents. According to the same report, 66 million children of primary school age attend class hungry. These statistics are staggering and the misery is unimaginable. While traditional means of caring for orphans has been practiced throughout sub-Saharan Africa for generations, social and economic strains are drastically affecting such practices. As a result, the demand for care and support is overwhelming. If we are to achieve the Global Goals for sustainable development by 2030, we must take action and fight this inequality by providing equal care and support for these children and teenagers, by ensuring a quality education for them in order to break poverty cycle for a better world.

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In the Republic of Benin, a country in West Africa, I am committed to the sole mission of providing orphan children, orphan teenagers and the most destitute young men and women with the physical and psychological support they need to improve their futures. In the words of late Nelson Mandela, the great African activist and revolutionary who was also orphaned as a child, “Education is the most powerful weapon in the fight against poverty.” I use my personal experiences to inspire and transform the way those who are suffering view themselves. In order to make a long-lasting impact, I have collected, compiled and shared stories of orphans who have overcome obstacles due to their passion and hard work. Examples include Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, Andrew Jackson, etc.

I lost my mother at 8 and his father at 14. I had a challenging childhood and bounced back and forth in multiple foster homes, until I finally had a handful of caring adults reach out to me. I now strive to pass on this hospitality and help young adult for kids and teenagers. After numerous volunteer-led motivation seminars in orphanages, schools, and universities, I realize that uncountable children and youth are with no assistance. It is frustrating to see the limitations these kids and young men and women face because they often don’t know someone who has gone through similar circumstances and lack a role model to inspire them.

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An estimated 75,000 kids and young people have drawn inspiration from my writings, seminars, radio and TV talks. Upon returning from the 2015 One Young World Summit, I started the EducNATION Project. The aim is to eradicate poverty by providing education and care for the most destitute kids, teenage young men and young women. Recognizing the need to address inequalities and to provide quality education for every single child throughout various countries is critical to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I am calling us all for collective action. There are kids and teenagers suffering in our respective countries that need our help. As a One Young World family, we are the ones to make a better world. So let’s start caring.