La Bonne EtoileTwo friends, Laeticia Hallyday and the French chef Hélène Darroze decided to create the charity La Bonne Etoile to improve the living conditions of Vietnamese children in need and then extend their aid to the rest of the world. The charity supports children and teenagers who are often orphans left behind and suffering from diseases or disabilities. It provides them with a decent quality of life, giving them access to care, education and vocational training, within a protective emotional framework.

Services Offered

La Bonne Étoile is a nonprofit organization that began in March 2012. The charity “builds schools, rehabilitates social centers, finances training workshops, provides support for health professionals in orphanages, subsidizes medical equipment and participates in emergency food aid in pediatric hospitals.”

The Thuy An MOLISA Center is a rehabilitation and vocational training center where 240 children aged 6 to 18 live in Vietnam. These children are mostly orphans. This Center offers them medical care, physical rehabilitation, access to primary school and vocational training adapted to their disabilities. It is a unique center in northern Vietnam that provides comprehensive rehabilitation (physical and mental) and trains caregivers in others in the region.

In five years, from 2017 to 2021, La Belle Etoile helped this center in many ways such as financing a new professional training workshop in pyrography, a dance class and a course on the hygiene of life and everyday gestures for children with a more severe handicap.

Beyond Vietnam

In 2016, the organization decided to expand its efforts beyond the borders of Vietnam. The charity began its interventions in France with a project to help children in great distress by funding protected hearing rooms within the hospital. These rooms are a reassuring setting for children so they can tell their stories without having to move from one place to another. In this context, La Bonne Etoile worked with Le Rire Médecin to bring joy to children through comedy.

La Bonne Etoile also wanted to devote its energy to helping children in Africa. In 2019, the charity decided to fully finance the construction of a school for refugee children of the village of Visiki in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to provide them access to education and the opportunity to evolve in good conditions to prepare for their future. In early 2022, the charity also took charge of building a maternity ward in the Visiki hospital.

Final Thoughts

La Bonne Etoile continues its actions to help children in Vietnam and the world. In October 2022, the charity organized a month-long event for its 10th birthday, in which people could buy raffle tickets to win gorgeous gifts and experiences while helping children. La Bonne Etoile has helped 2,000 children and organized 20 actions. According to the charity, 11 projects are in progress.

– Olivia Roy Fritsch
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Child death in Honduras
Child death in Honduras is becoming a significant problem as a combination of factors is creating a crisis of poverty in the country. With the Central American country already being one of the poorest in Latin America as well as having the second-highest poverty rate in the LAC according to the World Bank data in 2020, the children of the country experience the brunt of this poverty. The most significant impact this rising poverty rate has had is pneumonia which has grown due to malnutrition, lack of safe water and sanitation and health care.

Poverty in Honduras: An Overview

  • Poverty in Honduras has been a concern for a long time. Before 2020, 25.2% of the country lived in extreme poverty and according to the World Bank, 4.4 million people lived in poverty. Since 2014, there has been very little decline in poverty levels as well.
  • When it comes to human development as well, Honduras has performed very poorly and has the lowest human development outcomes in Latin America. Children in particular suffer from child malnutrition as a result of this. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 23% of children under 5 experience stunting and anemia affects 29%.
  • The reasons for Honduras’ struggle with poverty have roots in economic, political and environmental factors. The climate makes food insecurity in the region much worse, with extreme droughts in Honduras’ Dry Corridor and irregular rainfalls that resulted in the loss of more than half of the crops in 2015. Moreover, 72% of the country relies on agriculture which makes matters worse.

Rising Cases of Pneumonia

The worsening poverty rates and resulting poor nutrition have resulted in an increase in child mortality rates in Honduras. One of the leading causes of child death in Honduras is pneumonia, which according to UNICEF is 16% of deaths of children under 5 years of age in 2019. The cause of the rising cases of pneumonia is the amount of malnutrition rising in the population due to the poverty crisis. With malnutrition comes a lack of safe drinking water, lack of sanitation and poor healthcare systems. Some parts of the country, such as the south region, are mountainous areas where finding safe drinking water is difficult and jobs are lacking.

These levels could rise as famine will likely hit the dry corridor of Honduras as well as Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica. In an interview with The Guardian, Ramón Turcios, the southern regional director for the Ministry of Agriculture, places the blame for this rising poverty on the government’s lack of response to the droughts. Although The Guardian reported that the World Food Programme (WFP) is providing supplementary nutrition to children in the Vado Ancho region, many doctors and healthcare providers are concerned about the future. “I’m scared that, as a result of the drought, the situation will get worse and there will be more cases of pneumonia, especially in children under five,” said a doctor at a local health center in an interview with The Guardian.

Hope For the Future

While the future looks bleak, there is hope that Honduras might be able to tackle this crisis and help millions of children. The World Bank currently has 11 projects in Honduras that it has committed $814 million. These commitments aim to address sanitation, health care and food security. The World Bank has pledged $70 million to specifically provide water to the Dry Corridor. It is also working on a new Country Partnership Framework with Honduras as of April 2022. Honduras also partnered with UNDP in 2019 to tackle child malnutrition specifically. Although there are fears for the future, many international organizations are working with Honduras to abate the number of pneumonia cases and reduce child death in Honduras.

– Umaima Munir
Photo: Flickr

polio vaccination in Tajikistan
In recent years, vaccine misinformation has arisen rapidly, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic; this has become a serious health concern. Polio vaccination in Tajikistan was successful for decades, but the country experienced a sudden outbreak in 2021. With the help of UNICEF, the country immediately responded to the crisis and introduced mass polio vaccination in Tajikistan which helped approximately 1.4 million children in the country. The community health centers and healthcare workers of the country played a major role in the success of this vaccination program. Their efforts provide a great model on how to combat vaccine misinformation through community and education.

Polio in Tajikistan

Polio, also referred to as poliomyelitis, typically impacts children under 5, and can spread either through people or contaminated water supplies. Since 1988, cases of polio globally have been reduced by 99.8% and the only countries that are still endemic are Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although there is no cure for the disease, effective vaccines for polio exist and are the primary way of fighting it.

Tajikistan, a country that had been free of polio for decades and was certified polio-free by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2020, experienced a sudden emergence of the disease in 2021. That year, 34 children contracted polio and became paralyzed, while 26 more tested positive without developing paralysis. For diseases like polio, even one case could be an outbreak and thus, necessitates an immediate response. The type of polio detected in Tajikistan was the vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2).

Organized Response to the Crisis

Response to the polio outbreak was swift and effective. UNICEF coordinated with the Tajikistan government and provided 4.6 million doses of an oral polio vaccine and a mass immunization program began quickly. The Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population increased poliovirus surveillance, conducted a thorough risk assessment regarding the scale of outbreak and kind of vaccine response required and was quick in verifying the preparedness of the immunization program.

The first wave of polio vaccination in Tajikistan began in February 2021, with a second round beginning a few months later in June and lasting until September 2021. With both waves, an extensive program of social mobilization began to reach groups most at risk of infection such as internal migrants and unregistered children, according to WHO.

Community health centers played a critical role in the success of the immunization program by providing the necessary vaccine education to the population. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the centers thrived and helped to foster an organized response to the health crises.

Learning from Tajikistan

Since the immunization program began, 1.4 million children got their vaccine against polio, and Tajikistan once again became a polio-free zone in April 2022 according to WHO. Healthcare workers and community health centers played integral roles in the success of the immunization program by reaching the most vulnerable segments of the Tajik population. Moreover, the government of Tajikistan did its part by responding to the polio crisis in a timely manner. Tajikistan’s eradication of polio is an illustrious example of how governments and global organizations can work together to end polio.

– Umaima Munir
Photo: Flickr

Children in UgandaIn Africa, a large number of people are suffering from poverty and disease. As a result, many children are suffering. Half of Africa’s population comprises children, and the spread of disease has forced many of them to become homeless orphans or die at an early age. Thus, some organizations are implementing concrete actions to improve life for children. For example, in Jinja, Uganda, East Africa, there is a nonprofit non-governmental organization (NGO) called Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels, which Barb Giruad and Edwin Lufafa founded in 2009, and is helping “protect and care for” orphaned children “by providing education and a loving, stable home.” Here is some information about the organization and its accomplishments.

A Brief Introduction to Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels

The Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels’ name has a heartwarming meaning. Jaaja stands for “grandma” in Lusoga and Barbara Giraud is a grandmother who helped found the organization alongside Edwin Lufafa, who is from Jinja, Uganda.

Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels aims to improve life for Uganda’s children. In Uganda, HIV/AIDS has left many parents unable to afford child-rearing responsibilities. In many cases, young children are caring for themselves and their younger siblings at the same time and many children are homeless. Statistics showed that one in four of Uganda’s households has at least one orphan.

The intent of the organization is to help children find a home and gain education. As a result, Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels is not only providing a safe haven for orphan children but also acting as a children’s welfare project.

Success Stories

The Borgen Project emailed the staff at the Home of Angels to learn about their experiences with the organization and its accomplishments. The inquiry revealed that Edwin and Barb rescued 11 children who were living at an abandoned orphanage and provided them with shelter, food and water.

Currently, the organization is taking care of 32 children and has even implemented a nursery and a primary school, thanks to donations and the selling of banana bread. The organization also built a grass hut where the children can have meals and attend events. It also contains a projector and screen from which the children can learn English. Additionally, the organization implemented a well to provide both the shelter and its community with access to sanitary water.

Looking Ahead

More recently, Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels is providing aid to poor families with mentally and physically challenged children by giving their families land and seeds to grow food. Additionally, Edwin is teaching families how to make bricks to sell.

The kindness and love that Barb, Edwin and their co-workers are giving to children in Uganda are incredibly important. Their efforts have helped feed and shelter many children and their families.

– Ella Li
Photo: Flickr

Early School Dropouts
Education is one of the most fundamental rights a child must have, no matter where they live. A free, equitable and good-quality education is also one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the United Nations designed. Education allows a student to be literate and articulate, and gain proper knowledge of various subjects. Unfortunately, many students experience early school dropouts drop out of school due to financial, social and political reasons.

Rates and Statistics

According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics, more than 64 million primary school students dropped out of their education in 2020. The rates are even more extensive in low and middle-income countries. For example, in Ethiopia, more than 2 million students dropped out of primary school whereas, in India, more than 6 million left primary schools. The dropout ratio between female and male students differs in countries. Boys in India abandoned school nearly two times more than girls in 2020, while female students were two times more likely to leave school in Ethiopia in the same year.

Reasons Why Students Drop Out

There are several reasons for early school dropouts in developing countries. The most common causes are:

  • Child Labour: Based on UNICEF estimations, one in 10 of all children around the world are victims of child labor. COVID-19 has worsened this crisis by forcing them to work for longer hours.
  • Child Marriage: Even though marriage under the legal age of 18 is a contravention against human rights, almost four out of 10 teenage girls marry before 18 in West and Central Africa. Female child marriage rates are lower in Eastern and Southern Africa (32%). Boys also face early marriages. Based on the reports, 115 million young males marry before the age of 18 around the world, with Belize, Suriname and Nicaragua having the highest child groom rates in 2022.
  • Conflict: Schools should be a safe place for pupils to study and learn, but this is not often the case in developing countries. In fact, many students miss out on school due to periods of conflict.
  • Funding: There is a substantial issue regarding low prioritization and underfunding of the education sector in countries facing a crisis. Only 2.6% of humanitarian funds go to education. Moreover, government funding related to education is distributed inequitably, with children of poor households receiving as low as 10% or less of the public education spending. This funding crisis will deprive students of the opportunity to study in developing countries.

Addressing Early School Dropouts

Many organizations, charities and institutes are raising funds and implementing strategies to prevent and end the global education crisis. UNICEF, UNESCO, Education International and The Global Partnership for Education are some organizations that serve and support this cause. UNICEF is currently working with various partners and officials to remove current barriers along girls’ education paths. UNICEF’s priority is to enable girls to complete their secondary education.

Keeping Girls in School Act

Keeping Girls in School Act is a bipartisan (H.R.4134 / S.2276) to employ and direct the U.S. government to create solutions to address the global education crisis and barriers in the way of female students. The Keeping Girls in School Act empowers girls around the globe by increasing educational opportunities and economic security.

Conclusion

Even though many efforts are helping girls obtain an education, there is still much work to do. Every little contribution can improve the educational crisis that girls face. Moreover, free education can give equal opportunities to the future community of girls who can be the leaders of tomorrow. Equality in education can lead to stable and civilized communities around the globe and put an end to early school dropouts.

– Hasti Mighati
Photo: Flickr

Child mortality in Nepal
According to a 2018 USAID article, annually, 2.6 million infants “die within their first month of life.” In addition, about 15% of these deaths come about through complications stemming from “severe infections.” Many of these infections-induced deaths are easily preventable through one simple solution: chlorhexidine. In Nepal, the government of Nepal and USAID piloted a chlorhexidine initiative in 2009. In 2011, Nepal introduced the antiseptic into “routine care nationwide.” The introduction of the antiseptic has safeguarded the lives of more than 1.3 million newborns in Nepal, decreasing levels of child mortality in Nepal. Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo have also introduced the solution to reduce child mortality rates.

Facts About Child Mortality

  • Under 5 Mortality. Child mortality, which people also know as the under-five mortality rate, is the likelihood of a child dying before reaching 5 years of age and is usually calculated per 1,000 live births.
  • Child Mortality in Numbers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 5 million children under the age of 5 died in 2020. Newborns accounted for around half of those deaths — about 2.4 million neonatal deaths. Compared to data from 1990, the global child mortality rate has decreased by about 60%. UNICEF estimates that compared to 93 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990, in 2020, the world noted 37 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • Highest Burdens. Child mortality is most severe in the regions of sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, where more than 80% of the 5 million deaths of children occurred in 2020.
  • Leading Causes. According to WHO, the leading causes of child mortality are infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria as well as complications arising from premature birth. The majority of infections are avoidable with simple and affordable health and sanitation solutions.

Child Mortality in Nepal

Nepal stands out in particular within the region of South Asia when it comes to child mortality rates. According to World Bank data, in 1960, Nepal recorded 325 under-5 deaths per 1,000 live births, whereas, in 2020, this number significantly reduced to 28 deaths per 1,000 live births. This is a significant improvement, especially in comparison to other countries. For instance, Pakistan reports 65 deaths per 1,000 live births and Afghanistan reports 58 deaths per 1,000 live births as of 2020.

The reasons for child mortality rates continuing to persist in Nepal are multifold. Lack of preventative measures against infectious diseases like malaria and pneumonia plays a major role in many babies not surviving. Many times, complications at birth occur, which are easily preventable with adequate medical care. Lastly, unhygienic medical conditions result in infections that claim the lives of babies. The adoption of simple and cost-effective solutions, one of which is chlorhexidine, can easily prevent unhygienic conditions and infections.

How Chlorhexidine Helps

Chlorhexidine, an antiseptic that hospitals widely use to disinfect skin and sterilize surgical equipment, comes in both liquid and gel form and is generally affordable. A study in Nepal showed that the use of chlorhexidine significantly reduced the risk of infection by 68% and minimized child deaths by 23%, USAID reported. The study led to the start of the 2009 USAID-led chlorhexidine program, supported by the Government of Nepal. Following the successful results visible in the program, chlorhexidine became a part of the entire nation’s medical care in 2011. In regions where people prefer home birth and use risky methods of birthing, chlorhexidine has helped save the lives of numerous children.

The application of this solution has decreased child mortality in Nepal and could impact the entire region’s child mortality rate. Chlorhexidine could also benefit regions like sub-Saharan Africa where infant deaths remain a concern.

– Umaima Munir
Photo: Flickr

The Madrasati Initiative
Education is integral to the eradication of poverty. Once people have access to a good education, they are capable of pursuing opportunities that can lift them out of poverty and improve their communities. As such, numerous nonprofits and global organizations are working to provide academic opportunities in less developed countries. The Madrasati Initiative, or the “My School” Initiative, is one of these organizations. Its mission is “to improve the physical and educational environment of Jordan’s most neglected public schools.” Since its creation in 2008, the organization has worked to provide better opportunities and education for children in Jordan, especially those living in poverty.

Public Education in Jordan

While schools in Jordan enjoy “nearly universal primary enrollment and gender parity,” schools still suffer from underdevelopment. As a consequence, students underperform in schools and many students struggle to continue their education once they fall behind.

For example, every student across 338 public schools in Jordan failed the public secondary school examination in 2015. These schools mainly fall within impoverished, rural areas and these statistics indicate “an urgent developmental and humanitarian need” to reform the education system and create new avenues for success.

New factors, such as a significant influx of young refugees and the school shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbate issues that the public education system faces. As the pressure mounts, schools need better resources and more assistance.

The Madrasati Initiative

Queen Rania Al Abdullah, the queen consort of Jordan, launched the Madrasati Initiative to support education in Jordan back in 2008. The nonprofit organization initially centered on the needs of 500 public schools by operating new programs and partnering with numerous other nonprofits, including the Queen Rania Foundation.

The Madrasati Initiative encompasses several programs. These programs renovate schools, promote social cohesion among refugee students and create additional learning environments, including student clubs and music courses, among other goals.

Madrasati’s Accomplishments

The Madrasati Initiative made significant accomplishments over the years. Since its beginning in 2008, Madrasati served well over the initial 500 public schools, moving on to assist 830 underperforming schools throughout Jordan. In total, Madrasati has reached roughly “360,000 students, 17,500 teachers and 800 volunteers.”

As hundreds of thousands of refugees trickle into Jordan, the Madrasati Initiative creates new avenues for refugee children to advance their career prospects. Madrasati worked under the PROSPECTS program, a global partnership that the Dutch government leads, to address poverty and education issues that refugees face. On May 29, 2021, the Madrasati Initiative, the Ministry of Education and the International Labor Organization hosted an event in Amman, Jordan, to provide career guidance services for 3,000 learners, including Jordanian and Syrian refugees. The event is just one of Madrasati’s many efforts to best uplift refugee children.

Beyond its local impact, the Madrasati Initiative also fosters open dialogues about education in Jordan with students and teachers. For example, on July 4, 2021, Madrasati and other partnering organizations and governments mobilized hundreds of students and teachers in Jordan to support academic activities focusing on “promoting youth’s engagement, leadership and active contribution to advance gender equality and the role of women, particularly young women, in peace and security” in Jordan.

Addressing Ongoing Concerns

In addition to these recent accomplishments, the organization, along with its parent institution, the Queen Rania Foundation, adapted to continue its work under new parameters during the COVID-19 pandemic. For a start, the Queen Rania Foundation’s website features educational resources ranging from simple parent guides to “toolkits” that summarize education research on effecting teaching strategies.

In 2020, the Madrasati Initiative also integrated the Jordanian curriculum into online learning services like Noorspace and Kolibri as students switch to remote learning. This allowed more than 4,000 Jordanian and refugee students to continue their education through online classes.

Through the combined support of teachers, international organizations and the Jordanian government, the Madrasati Initiative can continue its efforts to improve education standards in communities and schools with the greatest need. Though education in Jordan may not be perfect, the Madrasati Initiative continues to give students an invaluable opportunity to look toward their futures.

– Lauren Sung
Photo: Flickr

Inclusive Education Programs
UNICEF is working alongside NGO Zhan, a software development company and a youth center to help children in Kazakhstan who have visual impairments gain more out of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program teaches children with visual impairments how to access useful learning resources and maximize the benefits of technology. Inclusive education programs are particularly valuable in developing countries where many often stigmatize disabilities and those with disabilities do not receive accommodation from schools. The COVID-19 pandemic has made inclusive education even more essential due to an expansive surge in digital learning, which is rarely accessible to children with disabilities.

UNICEF’s Approach

UNICEF and NGO Zhan program taught children how to navigate smartphones, computers, web resources and messenger and navigation apps. The children also learned the basics of programming and became familiar with several software programs, as UNICEF reported.

Children who participated in the program ended up with heightened abilities to communicate with their teachers, peers and families, both inside and outside of school. Children with visual impairments who learn technological skills like computer programming have better chances of finding stable jobs later in life. Inclusive education programs like UNICEF’s help provide opportunities to children with disabilities who may otherwise lack access to education altogether, especially in developing countries.

Educational Benefits

Children with disabilities are often marginalized within educational systems, which makes it difficult to find career opportunities as adults. Children with disabilities face disproportionate amounts of exclusion in low-income areas, according to the World Bank. Educational programs that provide learning resources for children with disabilities help put them on level playing fields with their classmates.

Teachers in developing countries often lack the training and resources to assist children with disabilities, so outside organizations like UNICEF can help make schools more inclusive. According to the World Bank, inclusive education programs may involve teacher training, removing physical barriers for students and obtaining accessible learning materials. These resources allow children with disabilities the opportunity to learn the same material as their classmates without falling behind in school or missing out on job opportunities in the future.

Socioeconomic Benefits

Around the world, 57 million children lack access to primary education. While many children with disabilities struggle to keep up in school without accommodations, others lack access to education altogether. Educational disparities in low-income areas are particularly common among young girls.

Inclusive education programs and policies can improve child literacy, gender equality and educational opportunities at large for children with disabilities. When more children have access to positive educational experiences, more children can enter the workforce and contribute to their local and national economies.

UNICEF’s program for children with visual impairments is a prime example of how inclusive education can benefit children’s education and social lives. Inclusive education accepts and embraces all children, allowing them to succeed in school and pursue their ambitions for the future.

– Cleo Hudson
Photo: Unsplash

The Tomorrow School
Schooling is a proven pathway out of poverty, paving the way for higher-paying, skilled employment opportunities. However, impoverished nations, such as Ethiopia, face barriers to education and struggle with issues such as food insecurity, a lack of access to clean water and a lack of access to proper hygiene and sanitation facilities. By addressing all of these factors, impoverished people can live a better quality of life. With education, impoverished people can break generational cycles of poverty. The Tomorrow School, a German nonprofit organization formed in 2019, aims to “empower children in Ethiopia to shape their own future and to pursue their dreams on the basis of education.” By centering its work around four focal areas, the organization aims to create “a more dignified learning environment in Ethiopian schools.” Here is some information about how The Tomorrow School alleviates poverty in Ethiopia through education.

Education in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s education sector has made strides over the past decade “with primary school net enrollment” reaching a remarkable rate of 100%. Educational progress is vital for Ethiopia’s children who make up almost 50% of the population. However, while many children in Ethiopia enroll in school, only 54% go further than the eighth grade. In addition, approximately “[63%] of students in lower primary school are not achieving the basic learning outcomes needed to succeed higher up the education ladder.”

Cultural gender norms, domestic work responsibilities, “long distances to schools” and “climate-induced and conflict-related emergencies” form the education barriers present in the country. The Tomorrow School works to provide Ethiopian children with the necessary resources to aid in their educational success. Here are four focal areas to demonstrate how The Tomorrow School alleviates poverty in Ethiopia.

4 Focal Areas of The Tomorrow School

  1. Clean Water: Of the 2.1 billion individuals in the world who are without access to clean drinking water, Ethiopia makes up 61 million. Girls and women shoulder the burden of walking hours to collect water, a time-consuming endeavor that leaves them with no time for paid employment or education. Often, this water comes from contaminated sources that increase the risk of waterborne diseases like typhoid fever and bilharzia. The Tomorrow School funds the construction and maintenance of safe water sources in schools to “supply the sanitary facilities, ensure a higher hygiene practice and support the school food program.”
  2. School Supplies: The  READ II program in Ethiopia, which the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), conducted a survey across six Ethiopian regions and found that school supplies stand as the “second-most important factor” in reducing school dropout rates in the country. The survey also finds that school supply inadequacies are “one of the top four reasons for absenteeism” in schools. Writing utensils, paper and textbooks are essential for student engagement in classrooms. With these tools, a student can share educational information with his/her family, manage finances and problem solve outside of the school environment. According to The Tomorrow School, only 7.5% of primary school students in Ethiopia pass the national exam that allows for them to proceed to secondary education. A contributing factor to this low rate is a lack of access to school supplies and study materials that would better prepare students.
  3. Food: Food insecurity and hunger have severe developmental consequences for children, such as stunting, which “can affect a child’s cognitive abilities as well as their focus and concentration in school.” These impacts on brain development can equal a loss of up to four school grades. Furthermore, “stunted children are 19% less likely to be able to read by age 8.” Most recently, the World Food Programme reports that 3.9 million Ethiopian women and children are facing nutritional vulnerabilities. The Tomorrow School aims to not only provide food for students but also teach them how to cook balanced meals through a food program in Ethiopian schools where “children cook for each other.”
  4. Sanitation: The organization aims to improve the hygiene of students and the sanitation of schools in Ethiopia. The organization has reported that 25 million children in Ethiopia experience exposure to illness-causing germs due to inadequate hygiene facilities and supplies. A 2014 report shows that “73% of Ethiopia’s urban and 77% of its rural population used unimproved sanitation facilities.” By providing sanitary facilities, sustainable waste management and educating teachers and students on sanitary practices, The Tomorrow School helps to reduce infections and illnesses so students can continue to attend school.

Ensuring a Bright Future Through Education

Proper schooling has a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life, bringing benefits that can impact communities and entire nations. The Tomorrow School’s efforts to improve the learning environment in Ethiopian schools play a significant role in ending cycles of generational poverty in Ethiopia. The Tomorrow School alleviates poverty in Ethiopia by aiding children through education to provide clean water, school supplies, improved sanitation and food.

– Katelyn Rogers
Photo: Flickr

Effective Language of Instruction
According to the World Bank, children are more likely to succeed and stay in school if they are taught in their native languages. However, about 37% of children who attend schools in low- and middle-income countries receive education in foreign languages, which puts them at an educational disadvantage. Effective language of instruction policies can help reduce learning poverty and improve children’s learning experiences. As a result, children are more likely to succeed in foreign languages and subjects like math and science, which can open up career opportunities down the line. Because educational attainment is a proven pathway out of poverty, the effective language of instruction policies must become a global priority.

The Effective Language of Instruction Policies

The World Bank lays out an approach to the effective language of instruction through public policy. The first principle of the World Bank’s approach is to educate children in their native languages up until at least their sixth year of primary school. The second principle states that children should have the opportunity to learn all academic subjects in their native language, not just reading and writing. Third, second languages at the primary school level must take the form of foreign language classes that begin with an emphasis on oral communication skills. Fourth, native language instruction should continue in schools even when “a second language becomes the principal language of instruction. “And finally, governments should continue to introduce effective language of instruction policies over time in order to best serve students and their countries.

Early Benefits

Limited access to effective language of instruction can hinder a student’s learning process as early as kindergarten. Children in low- and middle-income countries often lack access to educational resources at home, therefore, attending a school with ineffective language of instruction creates additional disadvantages for students. When children have access to effective language of instruction, they are more likely to excel in reading and writing, which are valuable tools in learning most other subjects. Children with access to education in reading and writing are more likely to engage in classes and schoolwork. Reading and writing skills can also help students excel in the real world, giving them career opportunities once they leave school.

A Foundation for the Future

Children who reap the most benefits from these policies often come from families with socioeconomic disadvantages. When a child’s family is unable to compensate for a lack of effective language of instruction at school, the child is more likely to drop out of school, repeat grades, experience learning poverty and receive a lower quality education overall, according to the World Bank. Effective language learning offers children opportunities to escape learning poverty, complete school and use the skills they learn to develop careers. The World Bank also finds that these policies reduce national education costs per student and in turn, allow governments to put more funding into achieving equal and quality education systems.

Learning poverty affects children all over the world and it often begins at a very young age. Effective language of instruction can benefit students everywhere and is particularly valuable for children in low- and middle-income areas, where learning opportunities may be scarce. Native language education lays out a foundation for student success, professional opportunities and national advancement, enabling children to break cycles of poverty.

– Cleo Hudson
Photo: Unsplash