Sunday, February 13, 2011

Everyone Has A Story: How Ungrateful Was I!

Packing my first box for the children in Afghanistan during class on Jan 24, 2011
Often times we get lost in the bubble of our hectic lifestyles, and forget that beyond the lines of this country, people do exist. These are people who dream of a better future, which they hope one day to achieve. People with families and friends who they hope will never leave. People with a desire to learn, grow, and better themselves so that one day, they could be as great as those they look up to.

So many times I have been told, “You can do anything you want to do if you just try hard enough,” but now I see how untrue that might be. How ungrateful was I before I noticed the suffering of others who did not have a pencil to write with, or paper to write on, or a book to read just for fun! How ungrateful was I before I realized the blessings of something as small as having four pencils in my bag that I rarely even use. How ungrateful was I.

I did not expect to be in this position two months ago when I first registered for this class nor did I expect to attain such a passion for the cause when the descriptions for the classes were first being read aloud! I heard “homeless awareness” and thought I had made my decision right off the bat! Until I heard the name, “One Pencil can help bring Peace,” a project dedicated to benefit the students of Afghanistan who did not have the simplest necessities required for education. My perception of this class suddenly turned upside down. I expected to learn from this class through the standard methods of lecturing and writing meaningless essays. However, I found myself becoming a part of something amazing, an opportunity that would give students like myself, who are yearning for knowledge, a chance to learn.

I was always taught the importance of education throughout my life and how it can make or break my future, but I have never truly appreciated that statement until now. The power of education is one that extends beyond our understanding. It has the ability to transform an entire community by allowing them to perceive and comprehend the mechanics of society as well as illustrate the crucial role they play in it. Education plays a pivotal role in showing these people that they have the capability to change the world.

Children in a classroom without walls at the Abdul Hali Mazare School in Mazar I Sharif, Afghanistan (Photo courtesy: The Stony Brook School)
When SMSgt. Rex Temple came into our class to present to us this project and the situation of the Afghan children, it brought about a sense of urgency for myself. These children want to learn but are hindered from doing so, because of the lack of schools and teachers and because many of them simply cannot afford to pursue an education. But the rebuilding of their country cannot occur without the future generation being educated and built into strong leaders of tomorrow. Progression can only occur with strong heads leading the way. The importance of education is exemplified through this need. It has the ability to create strong minds and people that can alter the future of this world, uniting it.

Some of the supplies that our class shipped to Afghanistan on Jan 24, 2011
I have slowly begun to realize the importance of everything that I have in my life and how grateful I should be of it. These people do not have a pencil to write with, while we have the luxury of owning 3-4 computers in a single family – computers that have made our lives so easy. These people – the Afghan people - are just like us. They desire the same things that we do. They have the same goals as we do. They want to learn just like we do. They want to grow and become prominent members of a society to help it grow and prosper just as we do. They are our brothers and sisters in humanity, and their suffering is our suffering. That is why I am here.

Mohammed Ali Ismail
University of South Florida
MSA @ USF President
Muslim Youth For Truth Contributer


  1. This is...awesome!! Please post more info on how we can get involved :)

  2. Please keep this up!!

  3. I heard about this from a blog on WUSF! That's so awesome that you're involved mashaAllah!