Books Not Bombs

Posted on November 27, 2008


(This is the second of two posts that highlight the endeavors that are helping to change the world through creative and contrarian ways of thinking.)

This video on The Developments In Literacy programs is of a similar vein to one of Kristof’s previous articles, “It Takes A School, Not Missiles” in the


While the U.S. government is fighting Islamic extremism in Pakistan with bombs, private donations are quietly financing a more important campaign: education.

The video report highlights the significant oppressions that Pakistani parents face under a regime of corruption. Their hope, to find a new way to educate their children, boys and girls, but they often do so in secret, and under the potential threat of violence.

A few bullet points mentioned in the video:

  • “The main reason we’re in education is to help girls get quality education so it makes a difference in their lives.”
  • DIL runs 150 schools in Pakistan.
  • While the government does spend money towards “education,” many are called “ghosts schools” because they simply do not exist. The money is essentially being laundered for other purposes.
  • Fundamentally, there is a vacuum of leadership
  • DIL is up to 13,000 students who perhaps would have remained illiterate.
  • They make a point of creating local ownership. Land is donated, and all the teachers are hired from the community. And the towns are willing to defend its school against the threat of fundamentalism.
  • “The school is like our house, and we cannot allow the Taliban to come and destroy this house.”
  • There are currently a lack of options post 5th grade.
  • Kristof makes a plea to Barack Obama to fund NGO’s like DIL, rather than simply send more military aide–(I second).
  • The problem is that Pakistan’s army often see the enemy as India when the country’s greatest enemy is illiteracy.


You could help make a tremendous difference in these schools. Visit the DIL website for more information.

I am becoming more and more hopeful for the future world. I pray that these trends continue, and that more of us will find these, and many other outlets for our internal ambitious spirits.