Published in the August 9 – August 22, 2017 issue of Gilroy Life

By Yashila Suresh

Yashila Suresh

“A child without a book is like a bird without wings,” goes a Tibetan proverb.

Education is a foundational and an empowering tool for a successful life. All of our technology was made from humans who had good education to think beyond themselves and do extraordinary things for future generations.

Every single child in the world deserves a proper education. Children should be learning and enriching their minds and the society shouldn’t put them in a place to cook, clean, or scrounge the streets looking for extra scraps of food.

During my seventh-grade year at Gilroy’s Ascencion Solorsano Middle School, I started a book drive to collect books to help build a library in Africa. Another goal was also to educate my peers about illiteracy.

Leading a book drive really changed my perspective on how I saw things. While doing research for the presentation, I was going to present to my school, I found out that living in Africa was a true battle. According to the African Library Project website, 48 million youths ages 15 to 24 are illiterate and 22 percent of primary-aged children are not in school.

People have hardships every day from hunger to health issues. Historically, education was not a priority. Children would start working at a young age earning some money to help their family. Highlighting these critical reasons, I was trying to point out to my peers that if we all donated just one book it would benefit hundreds of children. This drive lasted for six weeks and all together our school did an amazing job. My whole room was filled with books.

I ran this drive with the help of my ELA teacher, Bonnie Woo, and Vice-principal Charla Mittman. Both were extremely supportive.

The thought of helping so many people in need and impacting a large population immediately caught my eye. To me, a book is another world. While learning things, our imagination also expands. From fairies to magic to dragons, books make the impossible sound possible. They make us crave for more and think “outside the box.”

Without books, who would have thought of the idea of building a machine (such as Siri, Alexa, Galaxy or Cortona) that could answer anything you ask as soon you call the assistant’s name? Could it have any connection to the book “The Wizard of Oz” where a piece of tin could talk?

All together, this was an amazing experience and I hope I inspired my fellow students at my school to do something helpful to our world and hope that people can help underprivileged children not only in Africa, but all across the world.
We help each other to make this world a better place, and each one of us can influence a large group of people to come together for any great cause.

Yashila Suresh is student at Ascencion Solorsano Middle School. She wrote this column for Gilroy Life.