I remember in January 2011 when news of the Egyptian revolution started to spread like fire through news outlets, Facebook and various other social media sites. It was a day of hope as my relatives rejoiced in the news that President Mubarak’s reign was soon coming to a close (he would resign on February 11th). Yet 4 years later, the country seems to be at more of a political unrest than it had before this revolution began.
My father was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt where he would go on to attain a degree in Engineering from the University of Cairo in 1968. He then came to Canada in 1975 to get his Masters from the University of Concordia and at the ripe age of 58 went back to do his MBA at the University of Ottawa.
It was an inspiration to see my father go back to school that late into his career. He had already accomplished so much that it was hard to believe anyone would want to go back to school when many people his age were thinking of what they would do in retirement. He would always preach the importance of “Knowledge is power” and was always supportive of any educational endeavors my sisters or I pursued.
Education isn’t cheap though and my father, thanks to his hard work in school and professionally, he afforded me any opportunity I ever wanted. I am always grateful for that, which is why Dreaming For Kids is so important to me. It provides these children with the opportunity to get an education which can possibly alter their future for the better. Perhaps its to post secondary school, maybe it’s a chance to emigrate to another country, it can even be something as little as spreading what they’ve learned from others.
When I look at what’s going on in Egypt I often wonder, what would have happened if my father never left to pursue his education. I doubt I ever would have been born (don’t think he and my mother would have ever met), but it’s also a reminder of how blessed I am to be in a country where our education is readily available to each and every one of us. In a perfect world everyone would have access to education and a better life, and through Dreaming For Kids my hope is that we can make that a little easier for some kids. Whether it’s the political unrest in Egypt, an orphanage in Tanzania or a non-profit in Canada, hope is always the first step to a revolution.
By Tarek Kassem