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Why access to education is important to what we do

POSTED January 14, 2019

Why access to education is important to what we do

How we’re making changes in 2019 to give more children a chance to thrive

By Patrick Canagasingham, CEO

Patrick at India school

The holidays are behind us, the kids are back in school and so begins another year — one, which holds promise for positive change we can make with the help of supporters, partners, government agencies and other civil-society organizations.

Many of us see the huge impact education can make at home and around the world. That’s why this year we’re redefining the lens with which we view education at Christian Children’s Fund of Canada.

We realize it needs to be more than one of many areas we address. We need to engrain it into all we do. After all, enrolling children in school and ensuring they graduate is the only way we can equip them with the tools to find full-time permanent careers, which will change their lives and the lives of their children.

The other side of the picture doesn’t sit well with me.

Consider Dalit communities in India where school isn’t often an option, particularly for girls in this lowest caste (class). In Paraguay, violence against children keeps many students away from school.

And, as I prepare to visit Burkina Faso in the coming weeks, I’m humbled by stories of infrastructural breakdowns in the education system.

What do I mean? Many rural primary schools have just three classrooms. The staff juggle this shortfall by teaching Grades 1, 3 and 5 one year and Grades 2, 4 and 6 the next year.

The administration hopes children pass each grade, so they can take the next one the following year. Yet, if a child fails, they have to wait a year to retake the grade they failed. Such scenarios can hamper a child’s motivation to stay in school where most of their classmates will be younger. In some cases, concerned community groups build straw-shed classrooms. Yet, these makeshift classrooms attract chickens, donkeys and snakes, which disrupt class when rain and wind don’t send children home early. And, there’s a danger of straw catching fire in these makeshift rooms.

So, what can we do to improve access to education? Our plan is to create a circle of support that provides and promotes:

  • educational support
  • gender equity
  • child and youth participation
  • child and youth protection
  • holistic healthcare

Only when children are healthy, protected, encouraged to speak up for their rights, realize gender equity and are equipped with supplies — and, in some cases, classrooms and furniture — to thrive in school, can they thrive in their community.

We know education is integral to success as an adult, so we make sure it’s at the centre of all we do. That means collaborating with children for change; only when we work together can we achieve true scholastic growth.

To learn more about how you can support education today, visit our gift catalogue.

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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.

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