Help Children Stay in School

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Posted on 7/29/2013

Education is one of the most effective ways of helping children emerge from poverty. However, attending and staying in school is a considerable challenge for children living in the world's poorest countries, where ChildFund works. Whether they lack the means to get to school or cannot continue their studies due to the pressures of having to work to support their family, millions of children around the world miss the opportunity to improve their lives through learning.

A Global Commitment

ChildFund recognizes that education is vital to breaking the cycle of poverty, and we are committed to helping children enroll in and stay in school.

The need to expand access to education has never been greater. Data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics indicates that despite the intervention of the United Nations and a commitment to meeting the Millennium Development Goal of ensuring that every child attends school by 2015, more than 57 million children worldwide will never have this chance. Much progress was made in the early 2000s, with more children attending school around the world between 2000 and 2005. However, in subsequent years, this positive movement slowed considerably. Today, we still have a long way to go before we can meet this goal.

A Serious Problem

Although some Asian countries have made progress with higher school enrollment, many nations in sub-Saharan Africa have stalled in this area. The number of children out of school in this part of the world has remained at approximately 30 million for the past five years, and some countries face an uphill struggle in lowering this figure because of generational poverty. Families cannot afford uniforms and educational supplies required for school, and some children leave school to work and support their families.

Gender often plays a key role in a child's likelihood of successfully completing school. In Afghanistan, India and Sri Lanka, girls are significantly less likely to attend school than boys because of cultural mores. Although some of our programs, such as the Dream Bike campaign in India and Sri Lanka, have allowed more girls to attend school, there is much to be done.

Even children who are fortunate enough to be able to go to school face great difficulties in completing their primary education. In 2011, approximately 137 million children worldwide enrolled in primary school, but at least 34 million dropped out before finishing the final grade. This is equal to a dropout rate of one in four, the same level reported in 2000. Some of our gifts enable children to stay in school and complete their education, such as our scholarships for Ethiopian girls.

Additional Disadvantages

Children with disabilities face even greater hardships. According to UNICEF's "State of the World's Children 2013" report, children with disabilities often experience social and cultural exclusion. This is particularly prevalent among girls with disabilities. Data from 13 low- and middle-income countries suggests that children with disabilities between the ages of 6 and 17 are significantly less likely to enroll in primary school than other children.

In some countries, such as Ethiopia, children with disabilities are more than twice as likely not to attend school than their peers, and even developmentally typical girls with a sibling with disabilities are often forced to assume the role of caregiver instead of attending school. To help an Ethiopian child with disabilities attend school, our Gifts of Love & Hope catalog allows you to purchase a wheelchair.

Helping Children Learn

ChildFund recognizes the crucial role education plays in breaking the cycle of poverty, and there are many ways you can help us provide opportunities to children in need.

Our Gifts of Love and Hope catalog has many gifts that benefit children who lack access to education, such as our Learning for Life gift. Give children living in the world's poorest countries the start they deserve by making a donation or sponsoring a child. Your support will make a world of difference.