“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation.”
Thousands of American children will soon begin their summer vacations after a session full of learning, socializing, and personal growth with their peers. Across the Atlantic, in various parts of Africa, their peers of similar ages will touch their books for the last time as economic and social realities force them out of their schools. Some African schools will shut down due to lack of funds, teachers, or student attendance. Many more children will never even get to enroll in one, much less leave a school midway.
A proper school building, a school desk, a couple of notebooks, or a qualified teacher are still a far-fetched dream for more than 38 million children in Africa, according to the UN. If education is the rising tide that can lift people out of poverty and build a better future…many African children don’t have the figurative boats to ride that tide. While globalization sweeps every corner of the globe, these children will drown without getting a chance to swim.
Here are some facts, courtesy of borgenproject.org:
- In 2010, there were approximately 9 million children of primary school age unable to attend schools in Africa.
- One out of every two children who attend school in Africa drops out before graduating.
- 33 million primary school-aged children in Africa do not go to school.
- Only 7 in 10 children who live in rural areas will ever set foot in a school due to schools being too far away. Secondary schools can only accommodate 36% of students of age and qualification.
- Only 28% of both boys and girls will attend secondary schools in Africa
You Can Help!
Abject poverty, lack of school equipment, inadequate resources, remoteness of schools, and societal problems have become insurmountable obstacles for these children. Leaving them bereft of the empowering impact of education.
Enrollment in percent education programs is expanding throughout Africa and nearly doubled between 1999 and 2012.
During the same period, primary school attendance has more than doubled with enrollment rising from 62 million to 149 million during this time.
Considering the fact that parents often can’t afford the cost of education, including books, uniforms, and tuition fees for their children to attend schools in Africa, 15 countries have abolished school fees since 2000. This enabled more children to attend primary school. (source)
It is clear from above that once economic obstacles reduce, people take to educating their children. The realization of importance of education is there. It is just that education is not accessible enough.
So, the solution is to make education accessible.
We need to build better schools, and we need to get children to these schools. This means:
- Building more schools.
- Furnishing existing schools with equipment and desks.
- Providing training to teachers.
- Getting children a safe and conducive environment for study.
- Getting children safe housing, away from terrorist or dangerous influences, if needed.
It’s a humongous task but not impossible. Organizations around the world are working for this cause in different parts of Africa. Schoolforafrica.org is one such organization who wants to give Kenyan children a bright future through quality education.
School for Africa was founded by Jonathan Mburugu, a teacher in Kenya who volunteers to teach children, especially from poorer parts of Kenya. He realized the cascading positive effects good education can bring and has dedicated his time and resources for getting children to school.
You can also contribute to make their efforts a success by donating amounts as small as $10. Right now, their goal is to train capable teachers who can inspire and educate students according to the latest practices in education. A small donation from your side can go a long way in helping some kid continue his/her education.
There are hundreds of schools that need help and millions of children still facing difficulty in getting or continuing quality education. Together, we can make a difference in their lives at little to no cost to ourselves. Your financial support or moral support by sharing their website can literally make a huge difference in the long run. As humans, we intrinsically want to do good if we can. This is a great opportunity to help deserving children reach their potential.
Who knows one of these children may become the next leader like Nelson Mandela to transform Kenya or some other part of Africa. Maybe, the next Einstein will come from Africa or the next Marie Curie. Perhaps, an African child will be the first someone in a field that changes not only lives in Africa, but around the world. Great inventions, and more importantly, great ideas can come from anywhere. We must ensure that everybody gets the environment to learn and think. And, a platform to share their ideas.
Education differs from other forms of support like direct financial aid because education is an enabler. An educated person can think for themselves. They can recognize and speak against injustices around them. They can hold local governments accountable and empower and lead local communities.
Education is also empowering. Especially in the case of girls, education can make a world of difference in the kind of life they will spend. An educated woman can support herself. She is independent in thought and action. She can dare to speak because education gives the person their voice and confidence to articulate their inner thoughts. That’s freedom and women empowerment in the truest sense of the word.
Let’s make an educated Kenya and then, an educated Africa a reality. One step at a time. Together. We all progress when we leave nobody behind.
If you can, kindly consider donating to schoolsforafrica.org and help them in their mission of giving children a fighting chance.