When considering the major global challenges facing us today – climate change, hunger, poverty, etc. – the best way to create a brighter future is to invest in children and education. The solutions to these crises could all lie in the minds of today’s youth.
Last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our country experienced the many hardships that families face when kids are kept out of schools. For many low- and middle- income countries, that experience is nothing new. For their families, sending daughters to school could mean that they have no drinking water. Sometimes sending children to school puts them in direct danger, as they might be travel long distances through rural areas. Or it means giving up the extra hands at harvest time when farming families rely on their crop for food or income. Refugees or those displaced by disasters may not have access to schools or teachers.
Even before COVID-19 struck, 258 million children around the world were out of school. Out of that, 130 million are girls. Since the pandemic began, even more students are out of school. Our charity partners work every day to improve literacy, provide safe school access, get supplies in classrooms, ensure teachers are trained and ultimately keep students learning. Education reduces the risk of conflict, forced marriage and gender inequality, and the longer people remain in school, the more likely they are to rise out of poverty.
That is why our charity partners are doing the important work to make up for the ground lost and continue to effect progress until every student can stay in school, creating a brighter future. Throughout the month of September, our cause focus is on education. In this article and across our digital channels, we’ll share highlights from a few of our charity partners who are leaders in this space.
The charity is dedicated to setting children up for academic success by keeping them from falling behind early. Children International organizes tutoring programs so disadvantaged students have personalized study time with teachers and older students. While tutoring is a proven tool for academic success, distance-learning created a new obstacle for educators, parents and students. Thanks to their dedication and modern technology, instruction was able to continue while keeping everyone healthy.
Here’s how staff are continuing to reach students around the world:
- In India, they are using WhatsApp for continued learning. Teachers and tutors remotely help students complete their assignments and are giving parents recorded messages with information about how to assist their children during home-schooling.
- In the Dominican Republic, staff continue tutoring through virtual classes and, each week, conduct evaluations to measure the program’s effectiveness. The results have been encouraging. They report an increase of 90% in learning, measured through quizzes.
- In Colombia, staff prepared short educational activities to share with families who then engage their children in learning. Donated books were sent to children who do not have internet access or computers.
Children International donations go to help families cover the costs of internet access and devices like tablets, which are invaluable to students. Kajal, a 17-year-old in India said,“It feels as if someone has handed me a key to open doors of opportunity. Now that I have a tablet, I can take it from here.”
It goes to show how teachers, supplies and scholarships can make such a big difference, helping young people overcome poverty and create a better future not only for themselves, but for the world.
Hope for Haiti
The Education Team recently set up eight computer labs with 183 computers, including the installation of solar energy systems for some schools. When asked about the impact of the new computer lab at her university, Manoïse Dubois, nursing student at Université Notre Dame d’Haïti, Cayes says,
“We were in desperate need of a computer lab when Hope for Haiti came and installed it. We are so grateful for this lab that helps us in so many ways. Most of us don't have a personal computer and we need one for most of our assignments and schoolwork. Because of this lab, we now have regular computer classes; but the most important thing is the opportunity to use the lab for homework, preparation of in-class presentations and research. What’s good about these computers is that they come with numerous preloaded educational applications. I particularly love the Encyclopedia App. It’s a real offline search engine that allows us to research any subject or topic.”
Now, since the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti last month, the need there has grown even more. Priorities are to rebuild homes, feed residents and restore schools. Donations to provide relief in Haiti will help minimize the disruption in their education as much as possible, by taking care of affected children and getting them back in school. You can give through the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund to support Hope for Haiti, Save The Children and other Charity Alliance partners that are helping in Haiti now.
Save The Children
“I think the pandemic was something we did not expect. We cannot attend school anymore...that makes me feel bad, because it is more complicated to have virtual lessons. For me, it is better when we go to face-to-face lessons. I feel I understand better, and the teacher explains better, too.”
-Ibrahim in Venzuela
To help students like Ibrahim achieve their dreams despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Save The Children has supplied school kits and learning materials to students all over the world. They are also equipping teachers with ways to support students as they study from home. The mission is to make sure children maintain and improve their literacy as well as numeracy.
Even without in-person classes, Ibrahim and so many students like him have been able to learn at home. Gifts to Save The Children helped Ibrahim continue working toward his aspirations of becoming a mechanical engineer. Imagine how many children will grow up to achieve their dreams thanks to the help of charities like Save The Children and donors like you.
United Seamens Service
Usually when we talk about education, we think about children. However, adults need ways to continue learning too. United Seamen’s Service (USS) meets the needs of seafarers through its six port community centers worldwide. The centers provide programs specially tailored to create a safe haven for seafarers.
One way that off-duty seafarers can relax is by reading a good book. Part of how USS promotes well-being, is by having a library for all seafarers who visit.
Since 1921, the American Merchant Marine Library Association (AMMLA), a United Seamen's Service (USS) affiliate has supplied “seagoing libraries” to American Merchant Marines, the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, and to seafarers of allied nations. As a non-profit, non-sectarian library service, AMMLA’S primary objective is to meet the educational, recreational and self-help needs of seafarers by offering a library service on a wide array of subjects. In 2016, USS/AMMLA distributed more than 22,000 books.
Each book, which is made possible by your USS donation, can help spark an idea, stimulate the mind and provide self care.
World Bicycle Relief
Instead of going to school on foot or not even going at all, so many students are able to arrive to school on time (and safely!) thanks to World Bicycle Relief. The charity distributes bikes to help lessen the distance between people and business, health care and education.
In sub-Sarahan Africa, the girls at Umoja Secondary School share the difference that owning a bike made for them:
When I watched, I was struck by their educational achievements, and also the confidence and unity that the bikes brought to that community. It is a simple tool that makes a complex impact.
Invest in the Future
Every child has the right to an education. We must remove the barriers that are keeping millions of children out of school.
Are you feeling inspired to help the next generation thrive? There are plenty of ways you can brighten minds around the world, especially through your workplace giving campaign this year.
- Learn more about the charities focused on education and share their stories of success with your colleagues.
- Check out the education fast facts, employee engagement opportunities and more resources for connecting with your fellow employees in our Education Cause Kit.
- Make a gift through your employee giving campaign and inspire others to give global too.
Knowing that charities like those in our charity alliance are continuously making strides to keep children learning makes me optimistic about the future. Thanks to your generosity, education programs can continue to prosper and new solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems can be found.