Dear Editor: It is enlightening to read about how Mendota Elementary students kicked off the school year with community support on Sept. 5. Reading the article quickly brought up many memories of the time that I was living in Togo, West Africa.

I grew up in a middle income household and was fortunate to have all I needed. Every school year, my father took me to shop for new shoes and school supplies, and my mother made sure that our school uniforms were made by our tailor to the style that we desired. I was very little, yet I was aware that many of the children in my neighborhood did not go to school because their parents could not afford to pay for their education.

Every child needs to be educated in order to build a brighter future. Unfortunately, a staggering 263 million children and youth are out of school around the world. The good news is there is a solution to this problem. The Global Partnership for Education is the only international partnership that is exclusively dedicated to education in the poorest countries worldwide.

Since 2002, the GPE has helped 64 million children go to school. This year, the GPE is calling on donors around the world to pledge a cumulative $3.1 billion over the next three years. U.S. leadership will be critical for successful GPE replenishment. The opportunity this year calls for leadership from elected officials, especially members of Congress. That is why I am asking Rep. Mark Pocan to sign onto the resolution in support of GPE, H.Res.466.

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Rachel Azanleko-Akouete

Madison

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