Privileged at birth – but for what purpose?

Rwanda Reflection #1 – Circumstantial Privilege

I probably think way too much and I’ve had the opportunity to travel a fair amount in the last few years as part of a process to determine ‘next practice’ for our school. When in the air and looking at a map of the terrain over which we are flying, I often think just how fortunate I am to be living in a country where the whole of our continent is free of war. If I landed in any one of a number of countries or continents, my circumstance would be vastly different to the life I currently enjoy. What would it be like to have been born in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran or Somalia? Why was I privileged at birth to be born in New Zealand?


When I came to Sydney in 1969, I came in by boat. But I didn’t have to find ways to circumvent Australian authorities. We sailed straight into Circular Quay. My family ancestry means I could get a job in the UK if I wanted to. I have choices and options. Taking that reflection one step further - when I travel, I can apply online to gain visa access to other countries with little hassle. In many cases, Australia has been party to a universal visa exemption scheme, enabling me to travel widely. When it comes to entering the US, I can enter via straightforward online processes. No desperate thoughts as a refugee.


Sobering reality

In short, the experience of life for many people on this planet is significantly different from mine. At the World Innovation Summit for Education ( in 2011, I was reminded that there are still about 75 million children who don’t have access to education. There are around 250 million children still caught up in child labour. The biggest issue preventing girls from attending secondary school is forced early marriage.


A journey

I feel compelled to do something that changes the life choices for others. I have just spent 8 days in northern Rwanda in preparation for a summit I am organizing with some colleagues - [rw12] Innovate Rwanda, 24 – 26 May, 2012. We want to help jump the schools in the northern rural regions of Rwanda through the centuries to the 21st century. We are hoping that a collision of creative minds might just facilitate that. Please consider joining us – for the journey of a lifetime:

T @scil #rw12