For children living in poverty, education is the key to a better future. In many developing countries, however, the schools available to children make it difficult to learn. Some classrooms don’t have enough desks or school supplies for every student. In some communities, there’s not even a school for children to attend.
In Kenya, elementary school is free to attend. Unfortunately, parents are still responsible for books and uniforms, which can be expensive for a struggling family. School infrastructure in Kenya is extremely poor; in many cases, classes are taught in makeshift shacks. Often, there’s no furniture, so children must sit on the floor. This poor learning environment makes it difficult for children to focus on their lessons.
Selva’s son Braulio has been sponsored through our CMAVIL site in Paraguay for 10 years. Sponsorship has been an immense blessing, but when Selva’s husband lost his job, the family’s financial situation became dire. Selva, eager to support her family, had the idea to start a small laundry business!
Laundry work is not regarded as a respectable job in her community, and Selva’s husband tried to persuade her to do something else. Selva, however, was determined she would be able to make her business idea work. When her daughter was let go from her job due to downsizing, the family put the severance pay towards their first industrial washing machine. They named their new small business “J&M Laundry”, after Joseph and Mary from the bible.
When Scolastica’s mother passed away, she and her sister’s life changed forever. The two sisters from Nanyuki, Kenya, had to leave their lives behind and move in with their uncle, who offered to adopt the girls into his family. Scolastica’s uncle has a wife and children of his own, and works as a casual laborer to make ends meet. The family doesn’t own land and lives in a rented house, and the financial burden of two extra children caused them to quickly fall behind.
Even seemingly minor health issues can stand between a child receiving the most out of their education. Caroline, a sponsored teen from Nakuru, Kenya, lives with her mom and two siblings. Three years ago, Caroline started having issues with her eyesight. Her eyes suddenly became intolerant to bright lights, leading to discomfort in class and while studying. Her aching, red eyes would often trigger severe headaches.
Caroline was given painkillers for some time, but the irritation and headaches became too much to bear. Looking for answers, her mother took her to the hospital. Doctors discovered that Caroline’s brain was unable to adjust to various levels of brightness, causing light sensitivity.
Education is essential to break the cycle of poverty, but children also need to be healthy to be able to learn. Being affected by vision or hearing loss, chronic pain, or mobility problems can severely affect a child’s ability to learn. Donations to Chalice critical needs is one way our supporters help break the barrier poor health can place on a child in need.
Munich, a 17 year old sponsored teenager from our Tondo site in the Philippines, lives with severe mixed hearing loss in both her ears. She had a typical hearing throughout childhood but around the age of 10 her mother noticed that she was having trouble with her hearing. Munich’s family is quite poor. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the slum and even though it was evident that Munich was in great need of hearing aids to keep up with her school work, a series of unfortunate events befell the family and she didn’t receive the help she needed.
In addition to child sponsorship, Chalice also offers elder sponsorship at many of our sites around the world. Many elders living in poverty no longer have the ability to work for a living, and those without children or family nearby are left to support themselves. Sponsorship gives struggling elders the support they need to receive essential medical care, eat nutritious meals, and live with comfort and dignity.
Education is one of the most effective methods to raise a child out of the grasp of poverty. According to the United Nations report, EDUCATION COUNTS Towards the Millennium Development Goals, each year of schooling increases income potential by around ten percent, and education empowers people with the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to shape a better future.
Children can’t get an education by themselves. Children need support from both their families and communities to thrive. With the help of those around them, adolescents can be provided the resources, encouragement, and support needed to break any barriers they encounter. The community in our Sabongari sub-site in Cameroon recently rallied together to advocate for the continued education of their children.
In November 2016, teachers’ and lawyers’ trade unions initiated a strike action over professional policies and poor working conditions. English separatists in this mostly French speaking country seized this opportunity to further their cause for outright independence of the English speaking regions of Cameroon, resulting in serious ongoing outbreaks of violence.
For these past three years, most schools in the English speaking northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon have remained closed and children remain at home.
Laurette faced poverty and hardship from a very early age. Both of her parents were peasant farmers in Western Kenya, and struggled to meet the basic needs of Laurette and her younger brother. They would often go days without a proper meal, and had to borrow food from relatives. The family couldn’t afford to purchase shoes or clothing, so the children went barefoot and wore makeshift clothing made from rugs.
At just eight years old, Laurette’s mom passed away from pneumonia. Laurette had to step up and help raise her younger brother, who was just five years old. She would accompany her father to work on farms, and do many of the household chores.
Four years later, when Laurette was 12, her dad suddenly passed away, too. Orphaned, Laurette and her brother were shuffled between family members. It was an incredibly difficult time for both children.
Our PENNT site is located near the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. In this area of Bolivia, it’s common for children as young as eight to have to drop out of school to work to support their families. Sponsorship in Bolivia helps alleviate the financial burden on these families, allowing children to stay in school and focus on their future. In addition to sponsorship, our PENNT site helps children overcome barriers to education through an active after school-support program.
PENNT’s school support program places special attention on children from poor backgrounds who are struggling to stay in school and keep their grades up. Children who attend the program receive tutoring and homework help from qualified teachers. The program also gives children a safe space to go after school while their parents are still working.