By now, it is no secret that education is considered a key component to resolve the poverty crisis that afflicts communities in many developing countries. In 2017, UNESCO published a startling statistic: Poverty rates could be cut in half if all adults completed secondary education.
Nearly 10% of all children around the world, an estimated 1 million, are denied an elementary education. That total rises to nearly 40% at the secondary education level.
Some regions fare worse than others: Roughly 57% of children in Sub-Saharan Africa are kept outside of the classroom. And even in developed nations, such as the United States, as many as 1 in 6 children live in poverty, at risk for dropping out or being forced to leave school due to family needs.
Education is not free. Even in the United States, with children’s established right to public school access, parents need to afford the resources – a packed lunch, notebooks, study materials – for them to succeed and maximize their experience. In other countries, school comes with a set tuition cost, which can be anywhere from $30 - $700 a year, not including supplies and food. These tuition rates may not seem high to someone residing in America, but in most of these countries charging tuition, the average income is sometimes less than $10 a month.
When education comes at a cost and keeps impoverished families further in debt, it’s no wonder children are often kept at home to help out with chores or compelled to work and earn money to help the family cover the cost of basic needs. Survival comes first for the millions of people in developing regions who do not have access to affordable education and youth programs. And when disaster strikes a region – be it war, famine, drought, earthquake, or typhoon – consistent education often comes to a halt.
The good news
Several organizations operate programs that focus on equal access to education for all children around the world, including Global Impact’s esteemed charity partner, Save the Children. In 2018 alone, education initiatives implemented by Save the Children directly influenced the lives of 8 million children. Their work helps to ensure a brighter future through programs that promote literacy through partnerships, deliver nutritious meals to enhance learning, empower girls to stay in school to reach their dreams, and establish sustainable economic practices in villages to reduce child labor.
Monyrath participated in Save the Children's First Read early years education program before starting primary school. Her teacher, Vongsun Vath says: "The children who experience home learning or pre-school are confident.” She sees the foundation of literacy as an opportunity to improve their future, encourage them to be clever and brave, and help them secure better jobs.
Delivering nutritious meals: Hasina* (13) is a Rohingya refugee girl who lives in the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh with her parents and younger brother Monsur* (10). Since arriving in the refugee camps, Hasina* has embraced the opportunity to learn at a Save the Children learning center, one of nearly 100 operated by the nonprofit in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps. Save the Children’s learning centers give Rohingya children access to educational opportunities in their native language, including reading, math and life skills. What’s more, these centers incorporate a holistic approach to learning, which means that in addition to education, children are benefitting from a safe space with access to nutritious meals, clean water, sanitation and more.
Maya, an 11-year-old from Sa’ada, loves learning and is the top student in her school. Although she lives next to her school, Maya still faces a challenge in her education journey: there are no female teachers. Maya dreams of becoming a teacher so that she can be the role model for other girls in her village and encourage them to continue their education.
Reducing child labor: Children at a primary school in Jocotan, Guatemala, benefit from Save the Children's emergency response program, which serves supplementary food to the children. The severe drought in eastern Guatemala continues to affect thousands of families who rely economically on the temporary work during the coffee harvesting season, so the supplementary meals are a benefit to sending the kids to school instead of to work.
Through their comprehensive education programs, Save the Children opens the door to a whole new world of potential for children around the globe. They see that helping a child reach their seat in the classroom goes beyond the chair itself; it requires nurturing professionals who will instill a love a learning, nutritious meals to improve concentration and decrease the burden for families to put food on the table, access to vital health care services, stable family finances, and so much more.
The success of Save the Children’s programs relies on one key factor: support from people like you. As the saying goes, there is strength in numbers, so when multiple people come together in support of a common goal – like supporting education – that success is amplified.
How can you help?
One way to join forces with others and give to those in need is by participating in a giving circle. Giving circles are rapidly increasing in popularity among friends, community and church groups, coworkers, and families. They bring people together to support various causes, regions, or persons in need. The decision of where to direct donations is made together, thereby maximizing and broadening the impact as a group.
High Impact Funds (HIFs) offer another unique giving opportunity with a collective impact that appeals to both corporations and individuals. Global Impact developed a suite of 12 thematic funds (e.g., clean water, disaster relief, refugees) and six regional funds (e.g. Africa, Europe), empowering donors to support a humanitarian issue or area of the world of their choosing.
Through HIFs, corporations have access to a turnkey solution that can be used as a stand alone giving opportunity or integrated with an existing employee engagement strategy, harnessing the power of their employees desire to make a change in the world. This is especially relevant as companies look to implement their corporate social responsibility pillars on a global scale. To achieve success, it is necessary to understand the local communities and address the root causes of any particular issue, such as getting kids into the classroom and keeping them there. Channeling support through a HIF is one way to overcome these obstacles, as the funds support expert charities who can help bridge the gap between goals and local needs.
Engaging employees and fostering a collaborative work environment brings individuals together to have a greater impact. Nurturing this team mindset around doing good lays a strong foundation for workplace satisfaction, demonstrating to employees that their company is investing in important issues. Additionally, a company that shows commitment to the needs of communities they serve is seen as a leader in the philanthropic world, opening up new opportunities for partnership and greater potential for positive change.
Contributions to each HIF are divided between a few key organizations making an impact in each sector. The organizations are chosen for their transparency, respect, and missions, so corporations and donors can feel confident that their gift will have the greatest impact possible for those in need.
As a featured charity in Global Impact’s Education High Impact Fund, Save the Children benefits from corporations and individuals engaged around the fund. This collective network of donors supports Save the Children as they work to achieve breakthroughs in global education that go beyond the classroom to enrich local economies, increase safety, improve health care, and more – ultimately reducing poverty.