The world is battling a deadly virus that refuses to go away. War and brutality have returned to Europe, thanks to an unhinged tyrant in the Kremlin. And climate-related disasters are occurring with greater frequency and intensity than ever. But the world is not completely without sources of optimism. All it takes to appreciate this is a trip to Barandanga, a village adjacent to the small town of Para in the Purulia district of West Bengal. My aim during a recent four-day visit to the region was to study new initiatives to provide education, and particularly creative education, to the rural poor. But I gained much more. Largely cut off from the rest of the world with no newspapers or TV, and visiting schools in one village after another, I felt a wonderful sense of hope.