Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Education is the greatest weapon you can use to change the world’. We completely agree.
A quality education is not just a fundamental human right, it’s also the best tool to help children build a better future and a chance to break free from the poverty trap.
Family poverty forces many children out of school – even in countries like Uganda where Primary education is free. The cost of books and uniforms (plus the lost income the children could earn from working or begging) mean that many parents are forced to keep their children at home.
‘Marginalised’ children like child soldiers, street children or child-headed households find it especially hard to access education – yet these are the very groups that needs its protection and its benefits the most.
Our aim is usually to enrol children in formal ‘state’ schools, but we recognise that this isn’t always possible, or the best choice for some young people who are too old to go back to school. Others who’ve lived chaotic lives and have had to fend for themselves from a young age may find the formal environment and discipline of a mainstream school is too hard to adjust to. So we provide and encourage ‘informal education’ and livelihoods training.
What is infomal education?
Rather than going to mainstream schools, it’s sometimes better to educate children in more informal settings where they can learn ‘soft’ or life skills alongside the basic literacy and numeracy ones. These would include basic interpersonal skills like sharing, trusting and listening. Plus they’d also learn practical skills as well – for example: basic food hygiene, how to stay healthy and where to turn to if they’re in trouble or danger
Disability and education
Disabled children and young people are very often excluded from education. This could be due to a lack of wheelchair accessible school buildings or transport to them, or a lack of specialist facilities and teachers (braille machines or sign language tutors for example), or because families keep their children at home due to the stigma that still surrounds disability.
Tackling the first problems is actually a good way of overcoming the last one. Getting disabled children into schools and becoming a visual and valuable members of their community is a great way of addressing the stigma and prejudices that some people have about disability.