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We were fortunate today to have Gabriel Munro, all the way from Canada, who is director of communications with the Amarok Society. Gabriel thanked the Carmichael Club for having him and said that to start off, he would like to tell us a story about a young man (pictured left) who lives in Dhaka, which is the capitol of Bangladesh, and has about 20 million people in the area. Where he goes to school, it is in a crowded room with one teacher for sixty students (Bangladesh has the worst ratio of students to teachers in the world). The teacher is overwhelmed with so many students, so he just teaches by rote learning, just yelling out words and the students repeat them. The students get very little context for the words. The teacher is underpaid and cannot live on his salary, so he gives what they call a “shadow education”. He shuts down class hours early so that if students want tutoring (for a charge) he can sell his services in these after hours. The poor get half a lesson without tutoring because they can't afford it. His parents are uneducated so they can’t help him. He  also has to go to work in order to help support his family. This is a world problem, one out of three are illiterate. As time goes on, this young man , being illiterate, becomes a low paid worker, a laborer, and lives in a difficult marginalized world and becomes an angry man.
Amarok (a Canadian native name for “wolf”) founders had the idea of teaching the mothers of these poor families to read and write because they will go home and teach their kids and others in the neighborhood. Women have the advantage that they can teach after hours, hold lessons and allow the kids to go to work.
As a byproduct of teaching the mothers, Amarok found that the educated mothers became the champions of women’s rights, children rights, peace and religious tolerance, non-violence and education. This came along with the goal of reaching the children who are the next generation.
 
The Dowry:  It is customary to marry off girls, as young as 12 and 13, for money. The educated mothers have struck back against young dowry marriages and eliminated the practice in whole neighborhoods.
 
Gabriel says his definition of education is “the act of giving the world to a child.”
 
Gabriel says that Amarok does not have competition from other charities, but does have competition from the Madrassas that teach hatred and extremism. Their source are poor young men who can’t rise in society, and are seen as labor, have a sense of burden, and are vulnerable to being taught hate and anger.
 
What the extremist fear is educated women – they provide reasons to live, not to die. They provide hope for the whole community.
Q & A: Do the women and Amarok staff get death threats? They did in the beginning because men believed that education of their women will cause their downfall, but the men are not bad people, they found over time that their women did not leave them and made better wives and even invited Amarok staff into their slums. The men began to understand the benefits of the program.
Gabriel said that Amarok wants to expand it's reach, and spread the word and fundraising, they have a program where you can "adopt a mother", as well as just donate money. Link to Amarok is: https://www.amaroksociety.org  and to reach Gabriel, go to amaroksociety@gmail.com
 
President Thorman thanked Gabriel for his wonderful presentation and asked him for literature and brochures about Amarok. He also mentioned, as he has done so many times before that, in honor of his lecture, Gabriel would have a book donated the the Carmichael library (subsidiary of the Sacramento Public Library) 
 Pics above: left, the slums of Dacha - young boy working in auto shop
Pics above: left - young mother's grandfather asked her to teach him to read. right: Mother teaching children
 
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Carmichael Rotary Meeting Information
We meet In Person
Tuesdays at 6:30 PM
( Temporarily Virtual) Ancil Hoffman Golf Course Clubhouse
(Temporarily Virtual) 6700 Tarshes Dr.
Carmichael, CA 95608
United States of America
 
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Louis Starr & Bob Byisma
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