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Paul Sutherland in Uganda
I have been in dozens of schools in Uganda and estimate that 90 percent of the classes I’ve visited have only one or two books in them—or none at all. School libraries often have no books. Teachers are not trained and often go unpaid. Uganda offers “free” education, but the government only allocates about $3.50 per student per year, so “free” can be descriptive of what the children receive. This is the norm in many developing countries, and it can seem overwhelming. But I’ve also witnessed something else: A suitcase full of good illustrated books can make a world of difference in a school or orphanage—especially if they arrive with someone who is willing to stay for a bit, to read them aloud, and to be curious about the outcome. What really makes a difference is if the person is not there on a “volunteer vacation” or a “selfie” trip, or even a religious mission—those may all be great, but they’re different. One thing that can really make ripples is if the person is essentially “on assignment”—acting as a participant journalist. That means the person starts with enough knowledge …

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland resides in Michigan with his four youngest kids, ages 5 to 10. He and his wife, Amy, try to be an example of Parenting for a Peaceful world, in which democracy begins at home.


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