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through education comes peace, one penny at a time

3/15/2009 UPDATE:
We officially counted the pennies, and they total $202.24. Quite a bit more than our original estimate. Not bad for two months and 21 kids between the ages of 3 and 8.

Original post:
Aidan has been participating in his Earth Scout group since last November and has just earned his first badge, along with all [singlepic=290,225,225]the kids in the group. They all worked hard to learn about and practice peace and nonviolence and have earned a badge in recognition of their efforts. One of the projects they worked together on was a Pennies for Peace program where they all collected pennies for two months. The idea is that many folks in America (not all, mind you) consider the penny worth little more than the pocket lint in which it’s nestled. Not too many folks I know will bend over on the street to retrieve a stray penny. However, in other parts of the world the penny can do great things. For instance, a penny can buy a child in Afghanistan or Pakistan a pencil, an essential tool of education. Here’s how the Pennies for Peace organization describes the power of the penny:

[singlepic=291,200,200]The penny, 1% of a dollar, is symbolic of the ‘1% of Gross Domestic Product’ goal set by the United Nations. The goal was for wealthy countries to give foreign aid to impoverished nations each year.

Pennies for Peace teaches children the rewards of sharing and working together to bring hope and educational opportunities to children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A penny in the United States is virtually worthless, but in Pakistan and Afghanistan a penny buys a pencil and opens the door to literacy.

And, fundamentally, education leads to peace. Aidan, together, with the other kids collected approximately $115 worth of pennies. (The current estimate is by weight; we’re waiting for a couple of folks still to make their final contributions before we bring the pennies to the bank to be counted.) Eleven thousand five hundred pennies buys a lot of pencils (or other much needed supplies). Here’s hoping it can buy peace, or at least offer something towards a down-payment.

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