Figures correct as of February 2020.
For millions of children and their families around the world, missing out on an education is one of the most devastating effects of poverty. It quickly becomes a cycle - those whose families are poor miss out, and in turn, they have fewer opportunities to earn an income later in life.
Breaking the cycle is incredibly effective in changing the course of a person’s life. Indeed, achieving a basic education is a key step toward fullness of life - unlocking a world of other opportunities.
Tearfund’s approach is to support community-based initiatives, whereby local people are engaged in running and participating in their own informal education programs. These come in many shapes and sizes, including pre-school classes in slums, training for teachers in remote villages, and tailoring training for young women. Generally, they are more likely to be in informal settings than a school classroom, and are more likely to involve those typically excluded from formal education opportunities, like women, girls and pre-school children. Rather than being run by specialised ‘children’s charities’ or focused exclusively on women’s rights, our partners incorporate functional education as part of a holistic program, incorporating income generation, savings and loans, and food and nutrition into their education programs.
Training sets people up not only for a job, but for the life skills they need to work to overcome poverty.
Classes typically involve social and health topics too. Woven into each informal education program is a range of other topics - gender awareness around girl’s education, health and hygiene awareness, and social issues such as such as domestic violence and gender inequality. These classes go way beyond letters and numbers - they are the beginnings of social and economic transformation. Through these classes, students can explore the reasons why they missed out in the first place - and can take action for the next generation.
For those who have achieved basic literacy, vocational training programs can be a next step to earning an income - and possibly paying for their children’s education. ‘Livelihoods’ training sets people up not only for a job, but for the life skills they need to work to overcome poverty. Whether it’s training in sewing, mechanics, hairdressing, or mobile phone repair, students are equipped with skills to build a better life.