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New Approach in the NetherlandsThe Social and Economic Council (SEC) recommended a new approach to the government in the Netherlands to combat poverty. The Council have revealed that families in the Netherlands often do not benefit from special provisions aimed to help the poor. This is because 60 percent of children in the Netherlands who live in poverty have at least one parent with a job.

Despite recent attempts to reduce the number of poor children, such as renewed attention to poverty reduction in Dutch development policies, the number of children growing up in long term poverty has gone up 7 percent to 125,000 as of February 2019.

While the Netherlands is known as one of the wealthiest counties in the world, wealth is still not distributed evenly. Many children suffer the consequences of their family’s poverty and have less access to education and health services.

What’s Being Done Now

The Social and Economic Council said that authorities should appoint one official to try to quantify the problem and to improve the often-complicated forms which need to be filled in to apply for help.

Currently, a small poverty analysis and policy desk has been created within the Ministry with the main task of integrating attention to poverty reduction into all the activities of Dutch aid. Furthermore, in the field of aid implementation, there is an effort to make Dutch aid more demand-driven to reach the poorest areas of the country.

How It’s Affecting Immigration

The struggle to stay above the poverty line has revealed that the amount of people holding two jobs has also increased within the Netherlands to nearly half a million people. Young people are most likely to combine two jobs. Of those 15 to 25-year old’s who work at least 12 hours a week, more than 12 percent have two jobs. This raises concerns for anyone trying to find a job and creates hostility towards immigrants.

Even the most pro-Europe Dutch political parties had 53 percent of its voters considering it unwise to allow free movement of workers. Minister for Social Affairs and Employment Lodewijk Ascher has already expressed his concerns that cheap labor could flood the Netherlands and said that former British Prime Minister David Cameron’s calls for limits on EU migration were “potentially interesting.”

The Future

The first steps of improvement have already been made by acknowledging the need for change. The Dutch policies on fighting childhood poverty need to be revised according to the SER. In 2014, a total of 378 thousand kids in the Netherlands grew up in poverty, with a remarkable 219,000 of these kids living in a home where at least one parent has a paying job. According to SER chairman Mariette Hamer, these numbers prove a new approach is needed.

Mariette Hamer also pointed out that these families are earning too little and in addition, they usually deal with paying off debt. The SER’s advice includes appointing a poverty manager in each municipality. This manager can help improve the cooperation between the different institutes and simplify procedures. The manager must also help low-income households find their way to services that can help. This new approach in the Netherlands could greatly help those in need.

Why Does It matter?

Wealthier countries, like the Netherlands, provide research to help poorer countries make good decisions. While their poverty levels are not nearly as bad as other areas of the world, there is still room for improvement. The policy has to be based on evidence. Academics, development organizations and research is needed to provide evidence for what works and what doesn’t.

Poverty reduction is a moral issue, but it is also a matter of smart policy. More prosperous societies are more stable societies. By working out a new approach in the Netherlands, it could help other children living in poverty all over the world.

– Grace Arnold
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About UNICEF
UNICEF is an organization which assists children in over 190 countries. The organization focuses on saving the lives of children, defending children’s rights, and helping them fulfill their potential as individuals. Founded in December of 1946 in an effort by the United Nations to support children in post-war Europe and China, UNICEF has been active ever since.

Here are the top 10 facts about UNICEF and how their impact has been felt around the world.

Top 10 Facts About UNICEF

  1. UNICEF is an organization which helps children receive necessary vaccinations. The organization gathers vaccines for 40 percent of children globally. Annually, this amounts to roughly three billion doses of vaccines.
  2. Globally, UNICEF is the largest buyer of mosquito nets which can be used to protect children from harmful insect bites. Malaria is an example of a disease which can be preventable through the use of a mosquito net. In 2006, UNICEF purchased 25 million of these mosquito nets.
  3. In 2006, UNICEF procured 10 million-plus malaria treatments. ACT, which stands for pyronaridine- artesunate, is a form of therapy which has been shown to be just as effective as other drugs for treating Malaria. The WHO recommended that this type be used to treat P. falciparum malaria.
  4. UNICEF embraces a wide variety of social issues. Among these are the protection of children, girls education, HIV/AIDS, immunization, malaria, nutrition, South Sudan child soldiers, and WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene).
  5. In April of 2005, UNICEF released a publication which documented the organization’s work between 1995-2005. Titled ‘A Pivotal Decade’ the publication covered the 10-year span during which UNICEF helped ensure that millions of children survive who could have been lost. The publication explores how UNICEF is well-equipped to handle its main goal; striving to give each and every child a better future.
  6. According to UNICEF, human trafficking has been reported in all 50 US states. The highest rates have been reported in CA, FL, NY, OH, and TX. These are the statistics reported by UNICEF in one of their fast facts publications.
  7. UNICEF’s overarching goal is to achieve worldwide equality. Especially in the lives of children afflicted by illness, hunger, or war, who cannot attend school and receive a proper education as a result. There are also instances where children are prohibited from attending school. Specifically in the lives of young girls, which UNICEF works hard to support.
  8. Vaccines for diseases such as polio and typhus cost one dollar or less per 1 (unsure of currency) per vaccination. Despite the price, many still cannot afford these vaccines which prevent dangerous, if not deadly, diseases. UNICEF gives out free vaccinations to one in three children worldwide.
  9. When first launching in 1946, UNICEF concentrated primarily on supplying food, clothes, and medicine to young children and mothers in post-war Europe, China, and Palestine. Beginning in the early ’50’s, UNICEF sought to create more long-term goals for developing countries. As a result of these efforts, UNICEF constructed health stations in third world countries and began starting projects to ensure children and adolescents attend school.
  10. UNICEF’s long-running history of seeking to make the world a better place has resulted in them putting vast amounts of money towards public health efforts. The organization reportedly sets aside 80 percent of its funds towards public health initiatives.

Since their launch 73 years ago, UNICEF has become one of the most well-known and renowned organizations dedicated to public health and the well-being of children. These top 10 facts about UNICEF are just a few of this organization’s incredible accomplishments. Striving to make the world a better place since December of 1946, UNICEF shows no sign of slowing down.

Jacob Nangle
Photo: Flickr

vietnamese water crisis
Vietnam, a southeastern Asian country whose coastline stretches 12 nautical miles, imminently struggles with providing clean water to those living there. The country has over 2360 rivers and about two-thirds of its population resides near one of Vietnam’s three water basins. Even so, most of this aquatic supply is unusable and undrinkable. The ongoing Vietnamese water crisis is so threatening that it is a focal point of national policy and international concern.

Background

Both government and industrial issues exacerbate the Vietnamese water crisis. Poor regulation coupled with irresponsible handling of waste has led Vietnam’s ponds, lakes, and canals to shortages and contamination.

In March of 2018, the Coalition for Clean Water and the Centre for Environment and Community Research released a report detailing how industry has altered the water quality in Vietnam. The report revealed that about 70 percent of waste released from industrial parks is directly released into the environment. These tainted waters carry dangerous chemicals and cause illnesses.

The World Bank’s estimations concerning the crisis show that it is no diminutive issue. The organization notes that rising threats against Vietnam’s water supply could reduce the nation’s GDP by six percent by the year 2035. Pollution presents itself as the biggest hazard to water basins, which drain into water outlets all over the country. In the most highly polluted areas, wastewater has poisoned the air to the point that it has become odorous and toxic.

Impacts of the Crisis

Those living in rural areas suffer the most from water sanitation issues. Only 39 percent of rural individuals have access to clean water. Furthermore, most of these individuals must use water wells that tap into underground aquifers to compensate for the lack of a clean water source at the surface.

The absence of clean water does not only deprive rural Vietnamese of their basic needs, but it also affects their ability to efficiently participate in the economy. Agricultural production is a precious monetary asset that takes up 80 percent of Vietnam’s water supply. The infrastructure needed to transport clean water to farms is unstable.

The Vietnamese water crisis has created national health issues, as well. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment estimates that up to 80 percent of diseases in Vietnam is directly caused by water pollution. Nearly six million citizens have contracted a waterborne illness, the most rampant being cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and malaria.

Impacts on Children

Children are the main concern for the international community as dirty water affects the growth and development of a new generation.

UNICEF reports that more than 9.5 million Vietnamese still release excreta into their surroundings, further contaminating the water supply. Children lack the matured immune system needed to fight off the problems generated by this unhygienic practice, such as diarrhea, pneumonia, and parasitic infection. Diarrhea is responsible for nearly 10 percent of the deaths of children under the age of five.

USAID Intervention in the Ha Lam Commune

USAID has routinely provided donations and grants to the Vietnamese government to solve humanitarian issues. A recent project launched on March 30, 2019, is aimed at assuaging the problems perpetrated by water pollution.

The project, called the Vietnam Local Works for Environmental Health, focuses on the Ha Lam commune in the Thanh Hoa province. Small scale water supply systems are currently being entrenched in the region to provide clean water to kindergarten, primary, and secondary schools. The new infrastructure is estimated to benefit over 20,000 individuals living in this northern province.

The Ha Lam commune, however, is not the only area where children are at risk. Education institutions in other parts of Vietnam are also in need of effective water supply systems, as more than 80 percent of schools around the nation lack fully operating water sanitation facilities.

Looking Ahead

Due to the awareness and concentration on the Vietnamese water crisis, it is possible that this problem will soon be overcome. By 2025, the Vietnamese government hopes to attain the clean water standards needed to revive an unhealthy public and a feeble economic production. Specifically, the government has launched a national plan directed at hindering the open defecation that so commonly contaminates the country’s water supply.

With six years to go until Vietnam’s standard is hopefully achieved, it is imperative that this issue remain persistent in the global mind. The government and participating groups must remain resilient through the growing population and industry in Vietnam that work to destabilize existing plans. Clean water is required if the human and environmental body is to exist comfortably.

Annie O’Connell
Photo: Flickr

Latin American Drug Cartels Target Impoverished Children

Drug cartels are a rising problem everywhere, especially for those that are in poverty. Children, specifically children in poverty, are generally the most vulnerable population anywhere in the world. Latin American drug cartels target impoverished children specifically due to their innocence and willingness to obey. Although this situation seems unfixable, people are uniting together against Latin American drug cartels, providing much needed hope.

The Situation

In Latin America, 43 percent of children live in poverty. These children’s come from families with no money for food, clothing or shelter. Cartels know the struggles of these children, so they offer them work. Because many feel they have no choice but to accept work from Latin American drug cartels, 80 percent of children under 25 agree to work for them.

Young children in Mexico and other Latin American countries draw less suspicion than older individuals and are willing to work for little money. As a result, the cartels use them in every way possible. Cartels often send children unaccompanied to push drugs across borders. Subsequently, border security will help unaccompanied children, thus enabling drug traffickers to smuggle drugs across borders.

How Countries Combat Drug Cartels

Luckily for these children, countries are taking steps to eliminate cartels. Recently, Mexico initiated a joint investigative team with the U.S. to fight against drug cartels. The U.S. and Mexico have worked together to combat cartels since the 1970s. For instance, one program, the Merida Initiative, worked to stop the flow of illegal weapons from the U.S. into Mexico and, subsequently, Latin American cartels. Similarly, the U.S. and Mexico offer amnesty to drug dealers in exchange for information.

This new joint investigative team is based in Chicago and directly targets cartel finances. Cartels survive by distributing goods to suppliers and laundering money. Therefore, disrupting their finances and cracking down on money laundering will drastically slow their production. In doing so, the team intends to weaken and ultimately stop Latin American drug cartels.

How Nonprofit Organizations and KIND Help

Nonprofit organizations band together to help the children that drug smugglers employed previously. One organization in particular, KIND, is dedicated to offering such help. KIND protects children’s rights when unaccompanied children are detained by the U.S. and when they are on the move. KIND ensures detained children receive necessary legal aid, especially as these children are burdened with an immigration system they do not understand.

With the U.S. and Mexico targeting drug cartels’ financial assets and nonprofit organizations providing the necessary help, there is hope to eliminate drug cartels and keep vulnerable children safe. The U.S. and Mexico, along with nonprofit organizations, are executing solutions to keep drug cartels away from children and shut them down altogether.

– Emme Chadwick
Photo: Pixabay

Child Malnutrition in MaliAfrica is the only continent in the world in which poverty and malnutrition are on the rise. In a vast country with an undiversified economy, Malian households are especially vulnerable to poverty food insecurity.

Recently, Mali has faced “shocks” to its economic profile, including from a partial drought and internal strife. A 2013 World Bank study found that a 25 percent increase in cereal prices and 25 percent decrease in cereal production would push over 600,000 individuals to food insecurity levels in Mali. In addition, sustainably high population growth rates have risen the number of malnourished individuals in the country.

Effects of Child Malnutrition in Mali

While millions of Malians of all ages are affected by food insecurity, malnutrition is the second highest cause of death of children under the age of five. Almost 900,000 Mali children are at risk of global acute malnutrition in Mali, including 274,000 facing severe malnutrition and at risk of imminent death, according to UNICEF and the World Bank. To put this in the context of the country’s population, a 2013 World Bank study found that 44 percent of Malian households have at least one chronically malnutritioned child.

Malnutrition leads to devastating, long-lasting effects on young people. Research by an associate professor at the Federal University of São Paulo, Ana Lydia Saway, shows that malnutrition is linked to higher susceptibility to gain central fat, lower energy expenditure, higher blood pressure and disruptions in insulin production. These are all factors which heighten the risk of other chronic diseases later in life. 

How Mali is Combatting the Issue

Child malnutrition in Mali is a significant concern, requiring action and deserving worldwide attention. But a major problem limiting international assistance comes in the form of funding for aid.

In May, UNICEF reported that limited donor interest in the region has made it increasingly difficult for the organization to provide children with therapeutic food necessary to combat malnutrition. Funding for humanitarian organizations is low, as nearly 80 percent of UNICEF’s $37 million call for humanitarian aid for the year 2018 has not been raised.

“The children of Mali are suffering in silence, away from the world’s attention,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore said during a visit to the country this year. “Amid increasing violence, more children are going hungry, missing out on learning and dying in the first days of life.”  

Still, community and international-based organizations are working to mitigate the effects of child malnutrition in Mali. For example, in the capital of Ségou Centre, the local population, with the help of the World Bank and Swiss Corporation agency, is working to provide necessary social services to its commune.

The third phase of this project involved the decentralizing of health facilities, which were starchly underequipped. The commune recently constructed a community health center, showing promising bottom-up action within Mali. Other organizations are helping out to create sustainable progress in development, including Groundswell International.

Furthermore, farmers and processors in Mali have been working together to increase the presence of Misola flour to combat malnutrition. During processing, vitamins and minerals are added to the flour, targeting those with nutritional deficiencies. 

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that Misola can help rehabilitate undernourished children and help those with depressed immune systems. “The porridge made from the flour allows for a nutritional transition from breast milk to traditional solid food,” Fernand Rolet, co-President of the Misola Association, said. 

Overcoming Child Malnutrition Globally

Rwanda provides a prime example that overcoming child malnutrition is possible. The nation, which has a similar wealth level to Mali, has made progress in lowering malnutrition levels. A 2015 Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Access Report found that the level of stunting in young children dropped seven percent from three years prior. In Rwanda, the World Food Programme has been largely active, supplying food assistance such as providing meals for thousands of primary school children.

Combating malnutrition is an ongoing struggle, especially in Africa. Due to poor economic conditions and food scarcity, malnutrition continues to take the lives of thousands of children in Mali each year. Although citizens have founded programs to improve child nutrition and the issue is on humanitarian aid organizations’ radars, it is clear that more effort is needed to eradicate the problem. With continued efforts, child malnutrition in Mali will begin to decline.

– Isabel Bysiewicz
Photo: Flickr

Pediatric AIDSHIV/AIDS is embedded in social and economic inequity and there exists a critical connection between the disease and poverty. There is strong evidence that the disease affects individuals of lower socioeconomic status and impoverished nations at a disproportionately high rate. This is also true when examining the occurrence of mother-to-child transmission, which accounts for more than 90 percent of HIV infections in children.

S. Res. 310, according to U.S. Congress, is a “resolution that recognizes the importance of a continued commitment to end pediatric AIDS worldwide.” This is of extreme importance because, not only do children suffer the most from HIV/AIDS because of their developing immune systems, but they also are the key to eradicating the disease and breaking the cycle of infection. Without diagnosis and treatment, one-third of infected infants will die before the age of one, one-half will die before their second birthday and 80 percent will die before their fifth birthday.

As a leading cause of death among adolescents, AIDS is devastating the lives and hopes of millions of children worldwide. Pediatric HIV-related deaths have more than tripled since 2000, requiring immediate attention and resolution.

S. Res. 310 recognizes that women and children are in desperate need of HIV-related services. Data from 2016 shows that half of the 36,700,000 people worldwide who suffer from HIV are women and 2,100,000 are children. Despite the increased efforts by the U.S. and countries around the world, over 400 children were born HIV-positive every day in 2016. This legislation highlights that continued commitment is required in order to eradicate pediatric AIDS.

The resolution allows the U.S. to provide women and children with HIV counseling and testing services and to improve access to services and medicines that prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The legislation also supports expanding treatment for pediatric and adolescent HIV, including greater access to more efficacious antiretroviral drug regimens, age-appropriate services and support for the caregivers of children and adolescents.

In the words of the resolution, “every mother should have the opportunity to fight for the life of her child; and every child and adolescent should have access to medicine to lead a long and healthy life.”

Jamie Enright

Photo: Flickr

Human Rights in Saint HelenaSaint Helena is a tiny tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean and remains one of the few countries part of the British Overseas Territory. Besides being well-known as Napoleon Bonaparte’s home in his last years, the island is generally not in the news. Still, different stories detailing possible child abuse yield concerns about the status of human rights in Saint Helena.

Recently, Saint Helena has been under scrutiny for possible child abuse on its shores. In 2014, the Daily Mail published a series of three articles about the “culture of sexual abuse of children” in Saint Helena. Needless to say, these articles shocked the public. The articles detailed the brutality of the abuses. More importantly, the articles suggested that authorities needed to review the policing on the island.

The articles criticized the authorities in great detail, particularly the Foreign Commonwealth Office, the local government of Saint Helena and the Department for International Development. Other occurrences suggest that child abuse is ongoing on the island, creating a grave concern for human rights in Saint Helena.

Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama, social workers from Britain, were working with island residents. Gannon and Warsama reported the abuse; later, both alleged they were threatened and forced to leave the island in retaliation for reporting such abuse.

Later, the FCO withdrew its initial report in front of the United Nations. The FCO apologized for its “erroneous report” that denied the allegations of child abuse. Gannon and Warsama were furious. In return, the social workers sued the FCO and the United Kingdom Department for International Development.

The FCO was faced with a public outcry. As result, it commissioned a report by a children’s charity, the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. The foundation kept its report confidential. However, the contents were leaked to a website the social workers had created to help drum up support for their lawsuit. The report noted that there was a culture on the island of abusing teenage girls through “violent and brutal attacks.”

The reports generated by the FCO indicate that there is, at a minimum, some ongoing child abuse on the island. One of the reasons such abuse could potentially take place is because of the small population: there are just over 4,000 permanent residents of the island. It is well-established that abusers often become close to their victims.

The government of Saint Helena has begun taking an active interest in the welfare of children as a whole. In 2010, the Welfare of Children Regulations formed the Safeguarding Children’s and Young People’s Board. To avoid undue political influence as much as possible, the board is chaired independently, though it does report to the governor of Saint Helena. Other members of the board include those who work with children regularly: representatives from the different sectors of health, social services, education and nongovernmental organizations.

The board is a sincere effort from the government to protect children’s interests; it meets every six weeks and when there is an urgent matter. The board also strives to harmonize different elements of the government, so that various agencies can work for the betterment of children’s interests.

Smriti Krishnan

Photo: Google

Education in Mozambique

Mozambique has a population of about 30 million people. Statistics from various organizations, such as USAID, have shown that the adult literacy rate in the country is approximately 47 percent. In the surrounding countries of Zimbabwe and Malawi, the rate is much higher, at 87 percent and 66 percent, respectively. There are many contributing factors to the standards of education in Mozambique.

Here are seven things to know about education in Mozambique:

  1. Primary school is mandatory for children, but secondary school is not. In fact, there are only 82 secondary schools in the country.
  2. Poverty is a big contributor to the standards of education. As secondary school is not mandatory for children, attendance is extremely low during this stage – seven percent – since many children aged 14 and older would rather work than go to school. The children want to earn money for their families since resources can be spread so thin. Girls also tend to drop out of school at a young age to get married and start families of their own.
  3. Mozambique abolished primary school fees in the early 2000s. This abolition caused the primary student population to double in a decade.
  4. Teachers are outnumbered heavily by their students. This causes the available education in Mozambique to suffer.
  5. Children are also inclined to drop out of school altogether if their parents die because of poor living conditions or other extenuating circumstances.
  6. Studies by organizations such as UNICEF have shown that the early moments of childhood matter most. There are 15 countries with policies in place that allow mothers to have the time to devote to their childrens’ early years. Mozambique is not one of them and this affects the levels of education in Mozambique
  7. The government and various aid organizations, such as UNICEF, are also working to certify and train more teachers so that the teacher to student ratio can be improved.

The battle is being fought on all ends – teachers, funding and attendance are all issues currently being tackled. Hopefully, by improving literacy and education in Mozambique, this will enable many to pull themselves out of the vicious cycle of poverty.

Dezanii Lewis

Photo: Flickr

Priyanka Chopra
Brought to fame by winning the Miss World title, Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra has been making waves globally. Not only has she starred in the ABC primetime show Quantico, but also she has acted in the Hollywood movie Baywatch. The humanitarian side of Priyanka Chopra, however, is one that her fans are often not aware of.

Chopra is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and has sponsored the education and medical costs of seventy children in India. Furthermore, 10 percent of her income goes toward running her nonprofit, the Priyanka Chopra Foundation of Health and Education.

Chopra was introduced to social work at the young age of nine. According to the New York Times, her parents would take her on trips to the underdeveloped regions of India to provide medical assistance. There, she witnessed the blatant discrimination between girls and boys. “Parents believed that their sons were better than their daughters,” Chopra recalls.

Her experiences as a child are reflected in her choice of working with young children, especially young girls. Recently, Chopra spent two days in Jordan to visit Syrian children. She told UNICEF that “an entire generation of children are being shaped by violence and displacement.” Furthermore, she explains that this catastrophe does not only encompass Syrian citizens but the entire world–it is a humanitarian crisis.

The Za’atari refugee camp harbors the highest number of Syrians in Jordan. Chopra spent time meeting with girls there at the school sponsored by UNICEF. While chatting and playing with the children, she faced the harsh reality of child marriage and the dearth of educational resources. There were “too many girls younger than 18 with kids,” she explained to UNICEF.

Although they are eager to learn and often hope for professional careers, there are not enough resources for these children to get a competitive education. Many doors of opportunity close to these children when they become part of the job market in the future. The Washington Post reports that over half a million Syrian refugees of school age are not enrolled in school.

Chopra, however, should not be underestimated in her mission to make sure that “no child is denied a dream.” Although she cannot eradicate poverty, she surely will do her best to encourage and support many children globally, as she has already done in her native country, India.

Other than her collaboration with UNICEF, as a producer, she has also encouraged underprivileged artists. By producing movies in Indian regional languages, she gives artists an opportunity that would have otherwise been ignored. Her latest movie, Pahuna, highlights the conditions of refugees in the Indian state of Sikkim.

Forming personal relationships with the children and posting her experiences on social media, Chopra is using her platform and reach to expose the world to the reality of many troubled countries. The humanitarian side of Priyanka Chopra is slowly coming into the view of the world.

Chopra once told the New York Times that “these young people have the potential to transform society if we invest in them.” Since then, she has proven on multiple occasions her commitment to the youth of the world.

Tanvi Wattal

Photo: Flickr

Private Education in Pakistan

As in many other nations, private education in Pakistan is filling the gaps created by a struggling public-school system. Public education is a dismal scene; despite being a nation with a school-aged population of 47.8 million, a full 64 percent of public schools are deemed to be in unsatisfactory conditions. This is a relatively unsurprising number considering the newest public schools built in urban areas are anywhere from 40 to 60 years old. Furthermore, many students are unable to enroll in public schools simply due to their scarcity, evidenced by the 10 percent decrease in the number of public primary schools from 2011 to 2016.

With all this in mind, it is of no surprise that 37 percent of the nation’s educational institutions are private. Even more significant is the fact that this private 37 percent is somehow serving 42 percent of the nation’s total population of enrolled students and employing 48 percent of all teachers. Even so, the obvious reality is that private education is often expensive, thus making it out of reach for the most vulnerable and impoverished children. Consequently, a new subset of private education has further entered the scene: low-cost private schools.

Such is where Nasra Public Schools comes in. Despite its misleading name, it is indeed a low-cost private educational institution, and was founded in 1949 in a bungalow living room. Today, it has expanded into a system of private schools that boasts five campuses and serves 11,000 students. By 2020, it is projected to expand to 14 campuses, and will potentially expand further to 70 campuses across the nation.

Nasra is committed to low-cost, high quality private education. It does so through a contained monthly fee, meaning that fees have a maximum limit in the effort to maintain financial accessibility for low-income families. This works extremely well, as an astounding 79 percent of Nasra students are from homes that make less than four dollars a day. Additionally, Nasra rents campus locations rather than purchasing land- diluting infrastructural costs, which is ultimately what allows them to continually expand.

The system employs a staff of roughly 1,000, and teaches in English, a huge draw for the school. Further, it partners with various well-established institutions, such as the British Council and Pakistan’s COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, to provide the necessary technological resources and to create the most modern curricula it can. It also provides various extracurricular activities, such as student council, arts programs, cricket and table tennis, the latter two being supported through a partnership with the British Council’s International Inspirational Program.

Yet, it is still necessary to note that Nasra schools are not currently located throughout the nation, although such is the intention for the future. There is still a myriad of students who cannot afford to enroll in even low-cost institutions, an issue largely due to transportation fees. In many cases, urban and rural alike, students’ transportation fees would exceed that of school fees themselves, effectively making even low-cost private schooling inaccessible as well. Thus, the work of Nasra and its potential for expansion is even more essential; more Nasra schools spread throughout the nation would mean more educational opportunities for those that most desperately need them.

Kailee Nardi

Photo: Flickr

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children separated at border

Real Americans Don’t Put Kids in Cages

 

In May, the White House announced plans to separate babies, toddlers and teens from their parents at the border. Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the inhumane policy saying it would deter families from coming to America. However, there is zero evidence that this horrific policy has achieved its objectives (people fleeing violence aren’t sitting at home watching news coverage about U.S. immigration policy).

The President can immediately end his policy of separating children from their parents. Keeping families together is a bipartisan issue and we now need to focus on getting Congress to take action against this policy.



 

Children separated at border from parents