No Education, No Development : Why I believe in education
I was born and raised in Benin, a beautiful country along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in West Africa. Growing up, my mother always held her children to high academic standards. As I was growing up I developed a passion for visual communications. Now in a third world country context, a kid who is interested in graphics, photos, cinema or anything artsy is a huge worry for their parents in a middle class family.
To top up the worry, there are literally no schools or academic way to earn any degree in any sort of visual arts in Benin to date. I came to study in Chicago and my perspective of the world changed of course. But most surprisingly, my perspective of Benin and even Africa was altered. I was bombarded with so much negativity in the minds of people about my beautiful homeland that I had to think deeply about the topic of poverty and misery that plague the image of a continent.
Almost every time I talked with friends from Benin and other Africans in the US, our discussions would eventually start with the news from home and end in a debate or thoughts about the socio-economic conditions and how it could change. After a lot of reflection, I came to a personal conclusion as to why Africa is in a mess on multiple levels: It is the lack of access to Education.
Today I truly believe that the biggest failure of African governments after 50-60 years of “independence”, is the less than weak education system. In Benin, the illiteracy rate is way over 80%. How can people who do not even know how to read and write gain enough knowledge and insight into how to even elect a good leader for their country? How can they develop true innovative inspirations to solve their everyday issues? Do we have to rely on importing solutions to all problems? What about the problems that are solely specific to our regions?
I would not even want to start with other topics such as superstitions, tribalism, and sexism and even corruption due to the lack of instruction.
I am not fond of politics but it is my opinion that the cause of Education should be the greatest priority of any politician, administrator, or leader in a developing country. A developing country without a real education strategy is bound to decelerate it’s growth very much exponentially.
When a friend introduced me to Cercle Social, I was excited and happy to know I am not the only person in the entire world to hold such convictions. They were looking for volunteer graphic artists at the time. I did not hesitate to join and will never regret it.
Cercle Social is a Non Profit (501c3) Organization based in Dallas Texas in the mission of providing access to those who otherwise could not afford to attend high school. In a country like Benin, Education is a luxury but there is an incredible amount of great internationally renowned and award-winning figures in the fields of science, arts, music, around the world. Cercle Social tries to awaken the diaspora and anyone willing to help contribute to a great cause.
If you truly care about the development of Benin and Africa for that matter, please invest in Education.
Since joining Cercle Social, I have worked with amazing minds and helped improve the organization’s branding. In a future post, I will discuss my ‘creative’ endeavors with Cercle Social.
Eric is a creative designer and strategist committed to helping improve the audience's perception of your business and generate added value..