hunger in fijiFiji, a country bordering both Tonga and Futana, has faced increased obstacles with food security. It is estimated that amongst the population of 926,276 citizens, over 250,000 individuals are battling poverty and hunger. However, increased efforts have been made to combat this rise in hunger in Fiji.

Problem in Numbers

It is estimated that over 35% of Fiji’s population is below the national poverty line. With the income of households drastically declining, thousands of families do not have the proper resources to thrive.

Fiji children are also heavily impacted, further contributing to the increased rate of hunger in Fiji. It has been recently estimated that over 40% of Fiji’s children are malnourished. A majority of children in Fiji suffer from “protein-energy malnutrition”, meaning that they do not consume enough vital and nutritious foods for their bodies.

The Causes

The lack of food distribution in Fiji points towards a variety of factors. A primary cause is due to Fiji’s political instability and corruption. Additionally, with tourism making up a majority of Fiji’s GDP, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to decreased budgets and widespread unemployment.

Climate change has also affected hunger in Fiji. Cyclones have led to massive agricultural losses, resulting in widespread losses of income and the destruction of food that would be derived from the agricultural crops.

Another cause contributing to the hunger in Fiji is the increased dropout rates among children. With the majority of Fiji’s population battling poverty, children are often instructed to leave school in search of work. From grueling street work to harsh agricultural labor, children earn very little over the years.

In 2016 it was estimated that over 55% of children at primary school age were not attending school. This low schooling rate leaves many children uneducated, unskilled and closed off to stable job opportunities which in turn leaves them unable to afford basic necessities as adults.

The Road to Change

However, despite the increased rates of hunger among the Fiji population, organizations have stepped up to aid the needy. A prominent organization is Moms Against Hunger, which has dedicated itself to providing food for the individuals battling poverty. Moms Against Hunger has recruited numerous volunteers and has delivered over 250,000 food packages to families in need. Under the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of families received enough food to last several months.

Another impactful organization is HELP International, which looks to empower and educate individuals in need. HELP International focused its efforts in the nutrition sector, teaching individuals nutritional guidelines, financial literacy and the importance of schooling. Through these efforts, thousands of families can learn to manage a budget, eat well and pursue higher education.

Additionally, Aggie Global seeks to educate farmers on sustainable practices. Under a team of various volunteers, Aggie Global hosted workshops to teach farmers about crop control, production tricks and sustainable solutions. After conducting these workshops, hundreds of farmers were able to boost production, increasing the amount of food distributed to the public.

The Future

Despite organizations looking to aid those in need, Fiji continues to face problems in feeding the entirety of its population. The efforts from nonprofit organizations provide short-term relief but Fiji is in great need of government assistance to see great and lasting change.

For Fiji to see an immense reduction in its hunger rate, the government must act alongside nonprofit organizations to provide for families. In addition, the Fiji government must prioritize the youth and support and encourage the pursuit of higher education. With increased positive influence and support from Fiji’s government, poverty-stricken families all over Fiji would benefit, lowering the overall hunger rate.

Aditya Padmaraj
Photo: Flickr

Education System in ChinaThe People’s Republic of China has a reputation for excellence in its education system. China has around 1.3 billion people in population and has one of the largest education systems in the world. It has more than 500,000 schools alone. The education system in China is not only substantial but also diverse. There are more than 300 million students and over 14 million teachers.

How The Education System in China Works

It is mandatory in China that every child has to have at least up to nine years of the required education. In addition, education is state-run. This means it has a very small association with private providers. Education is divided into three main groups: basic education, higher education and adult education. The basic education for children in China includes primary school which starts from age six to around age 11 or 12 for the average Chinese resident. Thanks to the “Law on Nine-Year Compulsory Education,” all basic education is tuition-free. After the nine required years, there is a modest fee for tuition during middle and high school.

Moreover, junior secondary school which starts from age 12 to 15. After junior middle school students have finished their mandatory education requirement, they have the option to continue with senior secondary education which is usually a three-year program. These can be followed by other adult educations such as a university for a bachelor’s degree or master’s/Ph.D. program.

Development of The Education System in China

The Chinese education system is not only rigorous but extremely competitive. It has developed at an alarming speed over the last two decades. In addition, the education system in China offers their children many opportunities to thrive in the future. However, it did not always start this way. In the 1950s, the enrollment rate in Chinese elementary schools was below 20% and only 6% for junior secondary school. The country’s main form of education was similar to the Soviet education system. However, as the Soviet paradigm declined China started to change its education style.

By 1978, there were almost 1.3 million primary and secondary schools, a vast improvement just a mere few decades ago. But the steps toward modernization were not yet completed, there were still only about 600 higher learning organizations with only around 117,000 students. Thus, the education system in China was reorganized yet again to the system the country has today. By 1986, the “Compulsory Education Law of the People’s Republic of China” was born. It began executing laws for mandatory education for nine years of a child’s life.

In 2007, the state passed a law that students who were in rural areas were given free tuition for their mandatory nine-year education life. The following year this law was extended to urban living children as well. As of 2018, China has more than 29 million students enrolled in higher education alone, drastically boosting their economy.

COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 being an extremely widespread pandemic has posed some serious challenges for education everywhere. Being one of the first countries to get hit, China took immediate steps to try and solve the education issue during this pandemic. When China got hit, China immediately released an “epidemic prevention, control and containment” response plan. The goal was to handle the pandemic in the smartest and safest way possible, including how education would be affected.

China shut down schools in late January and started advancing their online virtual classes. Along with the new innovation, China did to its online platforms, the country also delays college entrance exams. It banned teaching a new curriculum until the next semester. The country hopes students who had difficulty in accessing online courses would not be hurt by this dramatic change.

Schools currently are open in China, but that may change depending on the state of COVID-19. Until then, China is taking extra precautions with temperatures taken before children go to school. Once they get to school, masks are required and the desks are all three feet apart.

Katelyn Mendez
Photo: Flickr

education Uganda
Education is crucial in the fight to eventually end world poverty. Around the world, there is a correlation between areas of high poverty rates and the low education rates in those areas. In Uganda specifically, more than 80 percent of children attend primary school. However, these numbers plummet to less than 20 percent when it is time for secondary schooling. It has been proven that when children continue on to secondary school, their earning potential as adults dramatically increases, which holistically affects their community as well as lifts them from poverty. But, it is even simpler than that; 171 million people could escape the grasp of poverty by simply providing basic reading skills to children in low-income countries. Such is the power of education in ending world poverty.

One School at a Time

At an organization based in Colorado, Bay Roberts and Patty Gilbert have been working tirelessly to improve education in Uganda, a country where poverty strikes hardest and education rates appear high, but the quality is severely lacking. The organization is called “One School at a Time,” and its goal is to provide better educational opportunities for impoverished areas in Uganda. They currently partner with five different schools in Uganda, working with more than 2,250 students using their unique model to invite entire communities to come together.

The main areas of focus include: teaching the existing schools to identify their own needs and develop and implement a five-year plan; securing water, sanitation and menstrual pads for older girls; starting community gardens; providing school lunch programs; training teachers in nonviolent communication and helping first-generation girls avoid early marriage and pregnancy. They have been working to end education poverty in Uganda for 13 years.

Bay Roberts of One School at a Time

The Borgen Project interviewed Bay Roberts about the current situation of “One School.” When asked about the importance of education in the fight against world poverty, Roberts said, “Educated students learn to read and write and do basic math, they learn why it’s so important to wash your hands, they learn how to prevent disease and take care of their bodies, they learn how to plan for their futures and hopefully how to problem solve and how to think […] Current data indicates that in Sub-Saharan Africa, every extra year of schooling can equate to a 10 percent increase in wages throughout life.” Education is not just about reading, writing and math. For these children, it is about teaching them the basics of taking care of themselves as human beings. These skills stay with them throughout their whole lives.

Roberts then spoke specifically about the education of young girls, “Girls who do not have the chance to go to school are the ones that are hurt the most. They are sold early into marriage as parents often do not see the value in educating their daughters. These young women never have the chance to meet their potential, work a paying job, have access to their own money, etc.” Not only are young girls less likely to receive an education, but the impact that they have when they do is larger.

Roberts continued, “Girls who go to school are more likely to enter the workforce, earn higher incomes, delay marriage, plan their families and seek an education for their own children […] Women put 90 percent of their earnings into their families, compared to men’s 40 percent […] The World Bank has found that when a country improves education for girls, its overall per-capita income increases. Improvements in girls’ education lead to higher crop yields, lower HIV infection rates and reduced infant mortality.” In fact, a woman’s income has the potential to increase by 20 percent for every year of school she completes.

Building on Uganda’s Existing Education System

With that being said, the main goal of “One School” is not to provide access to education for children in Uganda. In 1997, Uganda implemented Universal Primary Education, presumably providing access for all children to receive primary education. However, due to woeful underfunding, the schools had almost no resources, direction or ability to educate properly. Therefore, the goal of “One School” is to partner with these underfunded schools and help provide them with tools, resources, and techniques to properly educate their students.  

When speaking about this process, Roberts said, “One School at a Time addresses this situation by working with stakeholders of a selected Ugandan government school to create a 5-year strategic plan to improve their school and then providing support to that school to implement their plan. Typically, in the early stages of the partnership, schools focus on infrastructure improvements: clean on-site water at school, latrines, health and sanitation, new classrooms and teachers quarters. Towards the end of the partnership, schools focus on programs to support older girls to stay in school, teacher training, small income-generating projects and farm and school lunch projects. The overall results are that these schools are markedly improved, stakeholders are energized and happy and students are having a vastly improved educational experience.”

As for the future, “One School at a Time” has plans to expand their programs further throughout Uganda, providing even more students with education and the opportunity for a better life. “Our plan is to expand this network to 10 schools and then replicate this process in another Ugandan district.” It is the hope of the organization that this program, with its capacity for growth, can be used throughout the world, giving every child a chance for success and ending world poverty through education.

– Zachary Farrin
Photo: Flickr

Learning GenerationThe International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity convened to examine the evidence that advocates for their newly constructed plan for action, which will add up to the largest expansion of educational opportunity in modern history. The Commission has developed a bold and radical goal of getting all young people into school and learning within a generation — also known as the Learning Generation.

The Commission’s report observed that the future growth for developing societies will call for more education-led growth than the traditional export-led growth. New technologies of today’s societies are demanding higher-level skills and education. Unfortunately, many who live in developing countries do not receive the education essential to learn such skills.

In low-income countries, all aid combined only designates $12 per child, which amounts to only one book. This one book will not help a child become a highly skilled worker in the industrial world. Despite the fact that only 10% of foreign aid goes toward education purposes, it appears that education is the cause of many current issues and has colossal potential implications.

The lack of access to quality education is a reason behind the high mortality rates in developing countries. Also, educational inequality causes unrest and conflict. Conflict is greatest in areas where the gap between youth expectations and daily realities is widest. These conflicts bring refugees — many of whom lack skills and education required to become working citizens. There will be an increased shortage of skilled workers and a surplus of less-skilled workers, eventually stunting global economic growth if education continues to fall short of the growing demand for skills. Ultimately, this will reverse progress made in ending global poverty.

The Commission has devised a plan for ensuring that all children are in schools and learning within a generation, or no later than 2040. This plan incorporates 12 recommendations that fall in the four categories of transformation: performance, innovation, inclusion and finance. Investing our energy and money in this plan will deliver huge returns like eliminating extreme poverty.

A quarter of the world’s countries have already shown that the Learning Generation is possible. The countries that have undergone the educational reform outlined in the Commission’s report are countries with varying degrees of economic success. Some of the countries with the most improvement include Ethiopia, Togo, Burundi, Malawi, Lesotho, Ghana and Namibia.

If all countries followed the plan to create the Learning Generation, then within a generation, all children would have access to pre-primary education through secondary education. Because children in secondary school in low-income countries are just as likely to reach the standard level of education and skills as children in a high-income country today, this plan could tremendously improve the chances of lower-income children getting employed at higher-level jobs.

In order for this plan to succeed, all countries will need to commit to investing and reforming the education systems. The Commission’s report shows that harnessing new technology can provide the poorest children in the most remote areas with some of the best teachers and libraries.

Thus, the commitment to this plan requires that countries lead in financing education, leverage the dividends of growth and meet realistic targets for spending. Both countries in need of educational reform and those who are able to assist in reform must come together to successfully educate all children in the world.

Despite the evidence provided by the Commission’s report, it is difficult to encourage countries to put education at the forefront, especially when there are other issues at hand. Education is the answer to many other issues but it requires a resilient commitment to education — after all, education is not a quick fix, but rather, a sweeping proactive solution.

Kayla Mehl

Photo: Flickr

 Education in Nigeria

Children walking to school: an image many take for granted and expect as a given in the world today. But in many places, such as Nigeria, not every child has the opportunity to learn.

Nigeria, the most populated country in Africa, comprises 20 percent of the total children not currently attending school in the world. And the problem is far from stagnant as there are 11,000 babies born every day in the country.

Politically insecure and vulnerable to attack, Nigeria’s children are at great risk for not receiving an education. The northern part of the country faces a devastating statistic as two-thirds of the children are illiterate.

An attack in Northern Nigeria forced 2.2 million people to flee their homes, resulting in the displacement of families whose children no longer have a school to attend. In 2015, USAID set out to change the status quo, teaming up with state officials and a number of non-profit organizations to improve education in Nigeria.

They developed the Education Crisis Response Program: a program designed to relieve the local schools of some of their overwhelming demands by providing education for children between the ages of six and 17 in three different Nigerian states.

Two hundred ninety-four learning centers were built for classes three days per week. In-class meals and necessary school supplies were provided. The Education Response Program did not stop there. Recognizing the possible trauma many of these children may have experienced in the rapid displacement of their families from their homes, the program also provides psychological treatment.

Teachers in these learning programs have been trained to approach their classrooms through a psychosocial mindset. They encourage group work, remain aware of the history these children hold and provide open student-teacher interaction to help them feel safe and comfortable back in the classroom.

The Nigerian government supports this program and will be entrusted with the task of carrying its essential goals through when the program is phased out in 2017. The country is also planning financially so that the education response will grow with time.

Furthermore, the World Bank announced in September of 2016 a budget of $500 million for basic education in Nigeria.

Nigeria joined the Global Partnership for Education in 2012, established to increase the amount of people receiving quality, basic education. This partnership has worked with each state to develop a plan “to outline its priorities and objectives.”

In addition, an organization called the Nigerian International Athletes Association (NIAA) will hold a conference in October. The NIAA is a union based in the United States comprised of former Nigerian athletes seeking to improve the future of athletics, education and healthcare in their home country.

According to Premium Times, the NIAA’s president plans to use the conference’s funds “to support kids from disadvantaged homes with their education and help talented young athletes to combine sports and education.”

Perhaps the NIAA’s efforts combined with those of USAID and World Bank will result in not only the maintainence of millions of children’s education, but the advancement as well. With teachers trained to care for them beyond the classroom and former athletes enabling them to chase their dreams, education in Nigeria is surely on the rise.

Rebecca Causey

Photo: Flickr

Children in Crisis AreasAccording to a recent UNICEF report, approximately one in four children of school age resides in countries affected by war and humanitarian crises. There are around 462 million children in crisis areas whose education suffers, particularly areas in Syria and Eastern Ukraine.

Of this number, 75 million children are out-of-school, and the situation worsens for school-aged girls. UNICEF reports that over 63 million girls do not attend school and the numbers continue to rise. School-aged girls are in desperate need of a support system to improve their access to education and their chances at a successful future.

An education system not only provides basic instruction but also incorporates a daily schedule, food access and safe shelter for children during times of conflict. Conflicts in Eastern Ukraine have destroyed one out of every five schools and conflicts in Syria have rendered 6,000 schools unusable for education. The sites that can no longer be used as schools are now used as shelters for families or bases for armed forces.

As a result of the humanitarian crises in these areas, many children often receive no chance at an education. However, a recent emergency education fund will help to provide better education for the students facing difficulty, improving their family life and reactions to local conflicts as a result.

The World Humanitarian Summit was held in Istanbul in late May, where an emergency education fund called ‘Education Cannot Wait’ was proposed. The fund will provide for the educational needs of children who are suffering as a result of living in conflict zones.

Education Cannot Wait will attempt to raise $4 billion in the next five years for children in crisis areas struggling with education access and quality. This will support the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals which include a proposal for all school-aged children to have access to free and quality primary and secondary education by 2030. Improving the education systems for children in conflict zones will minimize or mitigate the issues of poverty on a larger scale.

Amanda Panella

Photo: Flickr

Since the United Nations’ decision to focus on education in 2000, approximately 58 million more children have been able to attend school thanks to various governments and organizations like Send My Friend to School banding together.

While this number seems large, that still leaves 58 million children out of school. And that doesn’t account for all of the dropouts that have taken place since.

In developing countries, there are still many obstacles getting in the way of a primary education for all children. Disability, cost, work, distance, conflict and a lack of teachers are only a few of the struggles that are still being addressed.

In the United Kingdom, the Global Campaign for Education began a program entitled “Send My Friend to School” in order to help the remaining 58 million children that are currently unable to receive a primary education.

This campaign focuses on allowing the children of the U.K. to participate in the solution. According to the campaign website, “over 10,000 schools and youth groups, and millions of children, have been involved so far in the U.K.”

The focus for these children is to band together and speak out for everyone’s right to an education. By speaking with and reminding leaders about their promise to get every child in school, they are able to keep education a priority.

According to Oxfam, an educational resource site, “Send My Friend to School is asking UK pupils to imagine that they were a world leader and tell politicians what crucial decisions they would make to get every child worldwide into school now.”

Since the campaign’s start in 2005, success stories have built up showing how much these children are capable of.

After the Southfield School campaign targeting MP Philip Hollobone and David Cameron, the two leaders expressed, “I am very impressed by the concern you have shown for the education of children in developing countries. Your colourful drawings demonstrate this as well as your enthusiasm for the campaign.”

Other such success stories have flooded the U.K. news.

The Send My Friend to School campaign has consistently shown that children are excellent advocates for global education needs. When organizations and direction are in place, children are able to accomplish much good.

Katherine Martin

Sources: Send My Friend, Oxfam, Southfield School
Photo: Flickr


On July 27, Harry Styles of One Direction spoke in a video sanctioned by his campaign, action/1D, about his views on global education and those who deserve a better quality of life.

“I want to live in a world where every child can go to school,” Styles said at the beginning of the video.

Styles, along with bandmates Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Niall Horan, recently launched the action/1D campaign to inspire fans and promote awareness for global education, poverty, climate change, disease and inequality.

With action/1D, supporters can get involved in the campaign by posting pictures and videos that correspond to a topic related to the cause. Fans of One Direction can also catch the boys in videos where each band member will begin with the phrase: “I want to live in a world where…”

In Styles’ video, he spoke about how much he enjoyed school, and the children that he met in Ghana who dream of getting an education. These children cannot afford school, Styles said, and they spend their days working instead of learning.

“At the moment, they have to work all day every day just to earn enough to eat,” Styles said.
The “What Makes You Beautiful” singer brings light to a continuing problem.

According to UNICEF, there are almost 624,000 children not in primary school. Those who do receive an education do not learn the tools required to be successful in secondary school or professional work.

“Often, the school environment is not conducive to learning: classes are overcrowded, water and sanitation facilities are lacking and trained teachers and school books are in short supply,” UNICEF reports.

For those children with disabiliites, education is even more difficult to attain. According to the 2010 national census, 20% of children with physical disabilities are not attending school.

In addition, gender inequality does not provide for an equal amount of girls in school as boys. The national average amount of education is seven years, and in Northern Ghana, girls attend school for just three years.

“Making education available to 100 percent of people around the world is one way to ensure that poverty declines,” the article said.

Along with The Borgen Project, Styles and other members of action/1D agree that education a key to ending extreme poverty. One Direction’s campaign, which is associated with a similar organization, action/2015, seeks to create a world where education, along with health, climate change and inequality, are no longer a problem.

This year, two U.N. summits will gather some of the most influential people in the world. During each conference, these leaders will formulate plans to fix these issues.

With the help of these conferences, numerous humanitarian organizations and Styles, extreme poverty just might end; as Styles pointed out in his video, this change can begin with education.

“Going to school could literally change their lives, but for now, all they can look forward to is a life of struggle, and they deserve so much more,” he said.

Action/1D asks fans of the band to group together to make a difference. To contribute to the cause and to learn more about the campaign, visit the action/1D website.

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: Action/1D 1, Action/1D 2, Action/2015, The Borgen Project, United States Census, Twitter, UNICEF
Photo: Sugarscape

Since the civil war in Syria broke out just three years ago, four million people have sought refuge in the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. So far, 100,000 have been killed. 7,000 of them are children.

The Middle East’s biggest refugee camp, Zaatari, lies in Jordan. It shelters 120,000 Syrians in a community divided into 12 districts. It costs $500,000 to run the camp. Camp workers dole out 500,000 pieces of bread and 3.5 million liters of water a day. Three-fourths of residents are women and children.

Of the 650,000 people that fled Syria to arrive in Turkey, one-third are allowed into refugee camps. There is no room for the res; they have to fend for themselves. Nizar Najjar is the assistant director of Camp Bab al-Salameh. He explains, “Sometimes we do not have the capacity to receive new refugees. Some people (are forced to) just put up their tents in fields.”

Those in camps do not have it much better. Dr. Al-Naser is a part of a group called “Medical Relief for Syria”. He says that the spread of disease is a big concern. “It’s a problem with sanitation, how to dispose of bathing water and used toilet water. There are lakes of waste in some areas.” Trucks bring in the camp’s only source of freshwater.

Young Syrian refugees are often traumatized. They have faced the horrors of being under siege, losing their homes and being separated from their families. Groups that flee travel by night and hide during the day. Some are shot at by fighter jets. Even once they reach the border, shelling still echoes in the distance.

Sara* is a 12-year old girl who fled Syria with her mother and brother along with her aunt, uncle and grandmother one year ago. She does not know the whereabouts of her father, who was kidnapped in 2013. The family was forced to leave once they lost touch with a brother-in-law that was providing them with money and resources.

Sara’s family arrived at a camp in Lebanon run by activists. They managed to find a simple apartment. It gives them a safe place to stay, but it is not insulated and floods as soon as it rains. Rent and electricity cost $230 each month. Back in Syria, they were a middle-class family, and now charities help them with essentials like food, rent and medical expenses. Sara’s grandmother has diabetes and high blood pressure.

It also costs money to renew visas, which is now mandated every six months. Many times, families are forced to return to Syria because they cannot afford it. It is difficult for refugees to find jobs and earn money. Sara’s 14 year-old brother makes $30 each week working for a nearby mechanic.

Affording school is nearly out of the question with high costs of transportation, books and other fees. Sara loved school back in peace-time Syria and completed grade five. She has not been in school for over three years now but is able to take French and English language classes that are offered by aid agencies in the area.

Antonio Guterres is the UN commissioner for refugees. He asks countries around the world do more to help these displaced people, including raising money to support them and their host countries. The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, makes a similar request. He also hopes to rebuild Syria and add more access to basic public services.

Sara dreams of becoming a doctor and for her country’s healing. “I want this war to end. I expect the world is so much bigger, with so many more people. With time, the world changes. I hope the war will be over one day.”

*Names has been changed to protect her identity

Lillian Sickler

Sources: Care, Daily Mail, The Guardian, CBS News, World Vison, The Daily Beast, MIC, NPR
Photo: Flickr

When the Ebola virus attacks the human body, the symptoms include muscle pain, vomit, fever and unexplained hemorrhage. While these symptoms are tragic and often fatal, there are no surprises when it comes to the virus itself—we know what it looks like and we can visibly see the damage it leaves in its wake. When the Ebola virus attacks an economy, however, as it did in Liberia in 2014, we know little about the exact symptoms and even less about the treatments available to combat it.

Until 2014, Chid Liberty, the founder of fair trade clothing manufacturer Liberty and Justice, had run his operations out of his native Liberia with ease. This changed almost overnight with the Ebola outbreaks of 2014.

“We had built the company up to a 500,000 orders per month and in a flash we were out of business,” Liberty said in an interview with Madame Noir. “The Ebola epidemic left us and the hundreds of workers and families that were depending on us stranded without income.”

Our economies are just as vulnerable as our immune systems, and can succumb to Ebola just as easily. It is estimated by the World Bank Group that nearly 50 percent of working adults in Liberia lost their jobs after the outbreak. However, Liberty refused to close his doors at the behest of the disease. Instead he turned his ingenuity into a tonic for the symptoms of Ebola and founded UNIFORM, a company based in Liberia dedicated to making affordable school uniforms for children who had been forced to leave school due to Ebola.

Liberia already has one of the lowest rates of primary education enrollment rates in Africa. According to The Global Economy website, an average of only 53.85 percent children reported having completed primary school between 1978 and 2011.

School attendance often incurs costs far beyond those of just tuition—the prices of books, the inability to work a salaried job, and even the cost of the mandatory uniform act as considerable deterrents to struggling families. The uniforms especially act as barriers to school attendance. Abdul Latif Jameel confirmed this in his 2009 study in Kenya, in which he discovered that providing children with free uniforms reduced school absenteeism by 44 percent and decreased dropout rates (particularly among girls) by a third.

Liberty’s UNIFORM brand has embraced the challenge of mollifying the effects of Ebola on the education of Liberia’s children. Their kick starter campaign, which has $174,760, has already given away 7,000 new school uniforms, all of which are being manufactured by small factories throughout Liberia (Madame Noir).

“I am very proud to be working on such a project,” said Ms. Annie Blamo to the UN Ebola Response team. Blamo is a worker in the Monrovian Liberty and Justice factory who has been manufacturing uniforms for the N.V. Massaquoi school, Blamo’s eight-hour days paid off when her son returned to school in early May. “We are so happy for what this factory has done for the children at the N.V. Massaquoi school and their name will be forever remembered.”

UNIFORM’s kick starter campaign will continue to accept donations until July 16, 2015.

Emma Betuel

Sources: Ebola Response, Madame Noire, Poverty Action Lab, Time Dotcom
Photo: New York Post