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How school kits are breaking barriers to education

POSTED January 27, 2020

How school kits are breaking barriers to education

Nicaraguan schoolchildren receive supplies they need to succeed in the classroom

By María Isabel López, country director, Nicaragua

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As we approach back-to-school season in Nicaragua next month, the team in our local Children Believe office enjoys taking part in the happiness of the season.

It’s fun to see girls and boys excited to continue furthering their scholastic dreams. Better yet, we know how quality education transforms the life of the children as well as their communities.

Unfortunately, going back to school is not a time all children can celebrate, especially when their parents or guardians cannot bear the costs associated with sending them to school.

That’s why children in our programs receive a school kit packed with supplies they need to succeed in the classroom, such as a backpack, notebooks, pencils, rulers and more. At first glance, the kit seems quite simple and small, but for children in many Nicaraguan communities, those supplies represent the difference between being able to start school or staying home. Such is the case for Oscar, a 10-year-old sponsored child from northern Nicaragua.

Oscar is the second of three children. His grandmother (below) often cares for all the kids, since their mom sometimes works in tobacco factories, a growing business in the north. When the children’s mother is at home and can watch them, their grandmother sells cooked corn in the streets, earning less than $8 a day.

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The story of Oscar’s mother and grandmother is a reality for thousands of women in Nicaragua who, in the midst of daily hardships — like putting food on the table — assume the responsibility and challenge of giving children in their care an opportunity to go to school and pursue a better future. “To send just one child to school, we need approximately [$135 Canadian] and I am talking about buying all the cheapest school supplies, that’s a lot of money for one child,” Concepcion, Oscar’s grandmother, tells me.

It’s thanks to caring sponsors that we can help children go to school. Oscar is very grateful: “I know there are other children who do not go to school, because they have to work, and I have the opportunity to study, so, I am very grateful for the (sponsors’) support,” he shares. “They always remember me, support me and help my mom as well, so she can send me to school. God bless you.”

We believe education is the most important tool children can use to change their world, and thanks to the support of donors such as the Taiwan Fund for Children and families, we have built better school facilities in northern Nicaragua — Oscar’s school is one such example.

Canadian supporters have also made it possible to train teachers on instructing methodologies, provide classes for those who need extra help and ensure schools are well equipped with chairs, chalkboards, books, electricity and more. This is part of an integrated strategy aimed at breaking barriers to education so children can see a brighter future is possible.

Malala Yousafzai, the education activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, affirms “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world,” and at Children Believe, we know small steps can lead us to a great change for children’s education.

You can help support a child’s education today. Sponsor a child today.

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ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):

Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.