DIGITAL LITERACY REACHES THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IN AFGHANISTAN

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I'm an educator, and as such I experience all types of attitude from my students on a daily basis. However, it's part of my job to understand that they are in the process of developing their social skills, and are only at the beginning of their lives as members of their community. Although a good degree of patience is needed in order to deal with them, for most part I welcome the challenge, and truly experience a sense of complete fulfillment when I can have a positive impact on their lives. Having to spend time with a class of 36 students is not always fun, but I enjoy working with children, and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

Even though I make the effort to be a good role model for my students, nobody is perfect. All people have buttons they don't wish to be pushed, and my button is arrogance. I can't stand the sense of entitlement that some kids today display on a regular basis, feeling that everything is due to them, and expecting to achieve a result without having to work for it. I can't help feeling sorry for them, because one day they will realize that life is not going to give them anything unless they're willing to put the effort, and the sooner that day comes, the more time they'll have to change their attitude.

Many kids today keep what they have for granted, and rarely reflect on how fortunate they are compared to those who don't have much. They complain about their parents not buying them the latest smartphone model, while countless children in the world don't even have electricity or running water. They are bored with what their parents prepare for dinner, while there are millions who suffer from hunger. They disrespect their teachers and put barely any effort at school, while an enormous number of peers can't even afford an education. We don't even need to go that far to condemn a behavior that is unappreciative of good fortune, and totally careless and oblivious of other people's struggles. It's enough to think about children carrying a disability, and the determination they must have to overcome the difficulties of their lives. Luckily, many of these less fortunate kids blossom into successful adults, whose powerful stories are capable to inspire countless individuals, including those who were blinded by pride and arrogance. Mary Gannon is one of these stories.

Born in a Mexican orphanage and adopted by an American family, Mary hasn't had it easy. Not because she didn't have electricity or enough food to eat. Mary was born without arms. I can't even imagine what she must have gone through her life with such a disadvantage, and I can't imagine what I would have done if I had been in her conditions. Nevertheless, Mary managed to find her way to shine, and now she is a successful middle school Math teacher in Lakewood, Ohio. Every day she walks into her classroom, her students are inspired by her, and not just because of her resilience, mostly because she is a great teacher. Despite her disability, Mary has found a way to live a normal life (she even drives), and doesn't want to get special treatment because of her disadvantage. She strongly believes that life has put her in that situation for a reason, and while she had to find a alternative way to maintain functionality, she feels that her disability has allowed her to better appreciate life for what it is. Some of today's children can learn quite a lot from a woman like Mary. 

Thankfully, not every child takes education for granted in this world. In Afghanistan, attending a school is a privilege not available to every Afghan girl and boy, and children's attitude toward teachers, books and assignments is quite different. Since Afghanistan literacy rate is still among the lowest in the world, men and women in Afghanistan are well aware of how fortunate they are if they get the opportunity to attend school. In addition, in some areas of the country Afghan women are still been threatened by the violent extremism of the Taliban radicals, who forbid females from getting an education and mercilessly persecute those who don't abide. Schooling in Afghanistan can be a dangerous decision for some Afghan families, and this is part of the reason the education in Afghanistan is still underdeveloped.

Luckily, some international companies are trying to support the Afghan education system by providing students with instructors and logistics. For instance, Film Annex - a digital platform that offers its website as a stage for independent filmmakers to showcase their work worldwide - has been opening Internet classrooms in 10 schools in Herat, the third largest city in Afghanistan. Film Annex has donated computers, Internet connection and educational curriculum to more than 40,000 Afghan students, and is planning to expand their "Afghan Development Project" to 30 more schools in the same area. In addition, Film Annex supports the Global Medical Relief Fund that helps children that lost limbs in natural disaster or war zones. What Film Annex is doing to improve Afghanistan schools is inspiring, because education and economic growth develop hand in hand, and there won't be any positive future in Afghanistan without giving its new generation a real chance to succeed. Some Afghan students are already putting in practice what they have learned in Film Annex's computer classes, and are already earning money online by writing social media blogs and sharing content on social media. The social media network strategies they have acquired with the help of Film Annex's curriculum are allowing them to get paid to write blogs, and are providing them with an unprecedented opportunity not only to connect with professionals all over the world, but also to create their own online businesses and make a living using strategies they would have never utilized without the help of Film Annex. Film Annex is doing its part to help Afghanistan economy. Who's next?

Giacomo Cresti

Senior Editor Annex Press

Film Annex

If you have missed any of my previous articles, you can find them on my personal page: http://www.filmannex.com/webtv/giacomo

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About the author

Giacomo

As Annex Press Senior Editor, I'm an educator writing about 3 main topics: fitness, digital literacy and women's rights. I've been traveling extensively throughout the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe, especially in underdeveloped countries where women are considered second class citizens, and deprived of their most basic rights. Many of…

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