Disrupted education is a widespread side effect of the coronavirus pandemic, and too many children in vulnerable communities will live with the consequences for a lifetime.
Out-of-school, children aren’t just failing to learn, they are at higher risk of child labour, abuse and exploitation, early or forced child marriage and recruitment by armed groups and gangs. They are not just missing lessons, but missing vaccinations and nutritional support through school dinners.
The UK began 2021 by closing schools again, but elsewhere schools have still not re-opened after the first lockdown. With online learning simply not an option in the poorest communities, children have missed a whole year of education. They are demotivated and distracted, and educators worldwide fear millions will never return to school. Without the education which offers them their best hope of a better future, their prospects look bleak.
Our international partners share these concerns, and Global Care has been using its Children At Risk fund to tackle the problem. We have already funded initiatives in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, to help children catch up on missed learning in 2021, as well as multiple initiatives in 11 countries to provide food and hygiene supplies during 2020.
In 2021, our Lent Appeal is raising £15,000 via Children At Risk for a new back-to-school programme in Guatemala..
In Guatemala, most schools are not expected to open until May or June 2021, as they are unable to comply with new Covid protocols. The children in our partners’ mentoring programme are all high-risk street-connected children with unstable home lives, and very few have been able to access any home learning. If they are unable to catch up, or be re-motivated for their studies, the call of street life – or gang life – may prove too strong.
Our Lent Appeal will fund a catch-up programme, running six days per week from January to November 2021, for 40 children in the mentoring programme, including all of Global Care’s sponsored children. Based at our partners’ two mentoring centres, all children will receive at least three half-day sessions per week, taught by qualified teachers in small socially-distanced groups. Our fundraising will cover wages for two teachers, study materials for all, and refreshments, for 11 months, at a total cost of £15,065.
Our partners believe this specialist, targeted support will help the children get back on track. They say: “We aim to provide a safe learning environment, following all necessary protocols, and help re-motivate the children to prioritise their education. We also aim to achieve across-the-board excellence in quality of education. Our goal is to help all the children not only catch up after the challenges from this past year but to excel, as many of them have previously done.”
Please help us raise £15,000 this Lent*, by giving to our Children At Risk programme, using the button below.
*Any funds donated over this amount will fund similar projects in other countries, helping children back into education.