NLTA Vice-President

Dedicated to my grandfather, Baxter Langdon; small in stature but walked tall with integrity...

Monday, 12 March 2018

I Do Not Exist...

According to a recent #CaseForChange Case Study (January 23, 2018), there are an estimated 1.1 billion people around the world who DO NOT OFFICIALLY EXIST as they have never registered their birth.” For example, “135 million people in Pakistan are effectively invisible because of this, living without access to education and healthcare”.

Feeling highly fortunate having been born in Canada and provided with essential human services since birth, I find this statistic to be staggering.

Follow the story of Hira Anwar who travels to Badin, Sindh a small village in Pakistan to meet with Jewan and his five-year-old son Jeet who is the first in his family to be registered through the digitized registration system.  

From a purely egocentric stance, I cannot wrap my head around being ‘undocumented’, having zero proof of my personal existence and the associated rights and privileges that should come with owning a birth certificate. I then shift outward to a local and national perspective, attempting to apply this lens to my immediate surroundings. Though our ‘vital statistics’ system is quite strong in terms of these processes, I do see those families and children that are insufficiently serviced or find themselves excessively strained by current policies and standards (e.g. seniors in poverty, homeless youth, certain First Nations communities, etc). Then expanding to an international and global vantage point, though knowing and attempting to appreciate the plight of many countries, I am not sure if I have ever truly thought of the birth registration dilemma. This has been a rude awakening for me.

Since first reading the case study some weeks back, I find myself frequently returning to it as I make a doctor’s appointment or simply drop my kids at school. But we need to continually challenge the injustices and 'gaps' that do exist, reminding ourselves that local strength results in societal advancements that can influential widespread change.  It is your choice whether you decide to do so up the street or across the pond (so to speak).

I challenge you to be unrelenting in your local fights for equality of educational opportunity within our public education system and access to efficient and effective healthcare (including mental health care). I also invite you to continually expand your personal frame of reference as well as for your students.

In that light, as referenced in a previous blog, I have committed to learning more about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are a set of 17 global goals established by the United Nations with a timeline for 2030. 

For example: GOAL 4: QUALITY EDUCATION - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The opportunities are unlimited to evoke change within your school, communities and on the global stage.

I welcome you to explore these essential resources for ALL Educators:

1. #TeachSDGs,, and the Global Goals Educator Task Force

2. The Global Goals for Sustainable Development -

3. #CaseForChange - Dedicated to the Goals and connecting everyone and everything to a better future, mobile operators are transforming millions of people’s lives. 

4. LesPlan - - #TeachNews - Helping students understand and critically assess current events and issues.

5. The World’s Largest Lesson Plan - - Introduces the SDGs to children and young people and unites them in action.

I will be bringing continued focus to the SDGs moving forward, making daily efforts to educate and expand my own mind and skill set.

Yours in Integrity,