In 2006, Sir Ken Robinson launched a debate on our educational system, claiming that schools are killing our youth’s creativity. He rightly argued that our education is supposed to help us find our talents, prepare us for the real world, and the uncertainties of the future. Our children are full of talent and imagination, but unfortunately our educational system tends to “squander” this creativity.
But worry not. Hope is not lost and Sir Ken Robinson may have been all too quick to jump to the idea that our youth is becoming less imaginative. Let us take the example of an inspiring young gentleman who I personally admire, Eric Freymond, also known as the Carpathian Wanderer.
Not so long ago Eric Freymond was enjoying a vibrant lifestyle in the creative and bustling environment of Silicon Valley where he proved himself to be an excellent salesman. Despite his love for the “electric atmosphere” he felt he could prosper more outside the materialistic environment of the Valley and after two years, he went back to his hometown of Lausanne, Switzerland. There, he accepted a job at Relief International (RI), an aid organization, where he utilized his salesman skills for humanitarian causes. Not long after he started, he discovered a project close to his heart, Connect Sudan, whose aim was to provide Sudanese children with computers and IT lessons. He immediately began raising funds and awareness about the project to ensure its success for the Sudanese children.
While his salesman skills no doubt served him well, he decided to add a personal touch to his fundraising activities. This is when his real journey began: determined to obtain the funds for the Connect Sudan project, Freymond took the decision to trek across the Carpathian mountains, the largest mountain range in Europe, over a period of 3 months. His goal was to encourage people to pay more attention to the needs of underdeveloped countries and use this project as an example of what can be achieved for some of the world’s poorest populations. Having raised $150,000 for Connect Sudan, Eric embarked on his incredible journey on January 14th. Despite a slow and rocky start, Freymond has already made a few friends on the way, herded goats on and off a bus and worked hard to overcome the cultural and linguistic barriers that have and will continue to face him along the trip. You can follow his brave and exciting adventure on his blog.
Clearly, the seeds of imagination, determination and creativity remain planted within the minds of our youth. But Sir Robinson was not completely off the ball. Each of our children is blessed with their own originality and talents and our educational system needs to factor in such differences. We need to provide our young with an arena to prosper and allow them to fight for what they believe, as Eric Freymond has done.
If only more of us took such initiatives to be creative and step out from the masses. For me Eric Freidman is an inspiration. Having learnt about his journey through the Carpathian Mountains, I decided to dig up a cause of my own worth fighting for. Having lost a friend and a relative to breast cancer in the recent past, I decided to raise funds for this important cause by climbing the highest freestanding mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro. Until my 5,896-meter high journey begins this July, I will be raising £4000 for a cause so very close to my heart, Breast Cancer Campaign.
I would like to thank Eric Freymond for inspiring me to fight for something that matters and giving me the push I needed to begin this incredible journey through the tropical rainforest all the way to the snow-covered summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. I truly hope that more of today’s youth use their talent and creativity to embark on new experiences and foster change and development in the world.