A Tale of Two Worlds – STEM Education Vs. Begging

In most developed countries we hear about programs such as STEM and how to motivate young girls to be interested in STEM. While I highly recommend and support such programs, I can’t help but think of the children The Bridge Foundation serves. In a world far away, we encounter children dying of starvation, children who have never stepped in a classroom and who can not dare to dream beyond today. Their entire lives are consumed by when they will have their next meal. While most children eat breakfast and head to school, the children in Ramapuram, India, walk several miles to the city to begin their day of begging. They stay out all day walking up and down the street hoping a kind soul will give them money or something to eat. Some of these children are very bright and full of talents that the world may never see. They could have been future scientists, programmers, developers, doctors, engineers, politicians, economists, actors, and writers but alas, many die of starvation, their talents, buried with them. The ones who survive continue to live a life of mediocrity and poverty with the world never meeting or hearing of them.

First, we need programs which will provide basic necessities to such children and give them an education which will introduce them to the world of reading, science, technology and computers. This will allow their young eager minds to soar and begin to dream again. See, the children in the developed world, your children, my children, start out in life with so many opportunities available to them. We tell them they can be anything they want to be and strive to give them every advantage in life. The children we serve in Ghana, India and Uganda do not have the opportunity to do 1% of what our children will get to do. That, my friend, is Social Injustice. The Bridge Foundation wants to be a bridge that these children can cross to arrive at a life filled with opportunities they didn’t even know existed. We want them to also have a choice of whether to pursue STEM, the Arts, Finance, or Economics. We want them to laugh and play as children.  We want them to worry about which book to read first and not when they will eat again.

Ramapuram is an impoverished village in South India where their own government uses their land as a refuse dump. About 80% of the mothers are child brides and almost 100% of them lack a viable employment. They lack basic amenities such as water, electricity among others. They walk about 4 – 6 miles daily to fetch water. Parents and children alike go days without eating. The only employment available is collecting ashes from the refuse dump and selling them for nearly nothing.

The Bridge Foundation is working feverishly to build a bridge for these children through the feeding program we have already started in Ramapuram. We currently feed 26 children twice a day for roughly $650 a month. The parents and grandparents hang around in hopes that there will be leftovers for them to also have. Right now, all we can do is feed them but they have other needs. We are painfully aware that it is not enough and we can’t stop there. The children will need to go to school if they are to have a chance to succeed in life. They need water, access to healthcare, and the adults need a viable source of income. For now the children are content. They don’t have to go begging again nor worry about what they will eat. The Bridge Foundation knows that there is a whole world of opportunities out there for the children to explore but it will start with them getting an education.

The Bridge Foundation will not rest until the bridge has been lowered for all the children to cross over to the other side where literacy, STEM, the Arts, business, sports, good health, and nutritious meals await them. We need your help to make this a reality. Help us with your financial donations and time to beautify this world one tiny corner at a time.

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