If the pictures we’re seeing all over Facebook are any indication, most American kids are back in school, ready to learn, make new friends, play sports and/or music, and discover more about themselves and their worlds. It’s just something we do here.

We don’t often think of school as a privilege, but for many children around the globe that’s exactly what it is. Even more than a privilege, it’s a dream. One that could change their lives … if it wasn’t beyond their reach.

For orphans, this time of year means seeing other children get ready for school. Homeless kids are barely able to survive let alone afford an education. So all they can do is sit back and watch.

Though there are a few government schools, in most third-world countries education is a private enterprise that’s run as a for-profit business. These institutions are also small, holding only 50 to 100 children. In addition, students and their families have to not only cover tuition but buy uniforms and books and pay for testing. This puts it past the realm of possibility for most orphans.

Children in an orphanage are about the only exception to this—as long as their home gets the donations necessary, they’ll send their residents to school. But often in this case, they end up in classrooms suited for up to 50 students that are, in fact, jam-packed with 200-300 kids.

They would tell you it’s worth it, though. They know how valuable it is to their future ability to feed and care for their family. We’ve seen kids gladly walk three to four miles to school on an empty stomach. They aren’t forced. They recognize and appreciate it for the privilege it is.

We already know the average American takes many of these privileges for granted, especially daily expectations like breakfast and a ride to school. In our surplus, we have the power to affect an amazing amount of change. Partnering with Food for Orphans is just a small step in that direction.