When a vulnerable child misses school, they don’t just miss lessons. They miss their best chance of breaking the poverty cycle.
During lockdowns and school closures, most children in marginalised communities can’t engage with online learning, even if it’s offered. They don’t have access to technology, peace and quiet, or even parental support.
Global Care has been supporting hundreds of vulnerable children back into education, either by helping schools re-open in a Covid-secure way, or by funding extra tuition programmes. Thanks to the generosity of supporters donating to our Children At Risk fund, and during our Lent Appeal in 2021, so far we have funded back-to-school or catch-up learning initiatives in ten countries on four continents. Here are three examples:
Olungura Primary School is home to a disability playgroup supported by Global Care, attended by 24 disabled children. When Ugandan schools began to re-open in late 2020, firstly to exam students, Olungura remained closed as it couldn’t provide any Covid-protection measures. The school’s 26 exam students were forced to walk 12km to the nearest open school.
More classes were invited back, but Olungura remained closed. Global Care’s Soroti team decided to step in, due to the urgent need to improve the situation of children with disabilities. Many were highly vulnerable and isolated, sometimes locked away for hours without help while parents looked for work.
In order to re-open the school and playgroup, Global Care funded water containers, soap and disinfectant for classrooms, plus two temperature guns, masks and sanitisers for all 299 pupils and staff. We also provided a bed, mattress and first aid box to create an isolation room for children who may be ill. Olungura Primary School re-opened in February 2021 to all pupils.
Schools in Albania reopened in September 2020, however children could only attend in shifts of 2-3 hours per day, to limit class sizes and maintain social distancing. Further assignments were set via WhatsApp or email.
As a result many children attending our partners’ New Day Centre, in disadvantaged Bathore, fell behind. They didn’t have reliable access to technology, and weren’t in school long enough for their learning to be secure.
Global Care has funded an expansion of the existing Homework Club at the New Day Centre, from November 2020 to June 2021. We are employing a qualified teacher and a teaching assistant to support 30 children, in small groups, before or after their shift at school, five days per week.
Ten-year-old *Besjana lives with her parents, grandmother and three siblings. Her dad works odd jobs to make ends meet, and her oldest sister works in a shoe factory.
The family had only one mobile phone to access learning for all three school-aged children. Besjana said: “It was very stressful because most of the homeworks we couldn’t understand. It was only through the phone we could ask questions to the teacher.” Her parents had a limited education themselves and couldn’t help. Besjana’s grades began to drop.
In September 2020 she joined the school club at the New Day Centre. Here Besjana can do her home learning tasks with the support of the teacher, and then play with friends. Already her grades are picking up and she is so much more optimistic about the future. She says she now feels ‘released’.
We provided facemasks, sanitisers and school essentials to 363 children at three preschools previously supported by Global Care in Hadiya Zone.
The preschools reopened in October 2020, and the ‘back to school’ packs were a successful incentive to support children back into the classroom after six months of missed learning.
Global Care also installed water points at four preschools, to encourage better sanitation. This was planned before Covid struck but proved even more essential when the pandemic began.
Global Care will continue to fund back-to-school initiatives run by our international partners throughout 2021, as and when required. With an estimated 800 million children still affected by Covid-related school closures as late as April 2021, the need is still enormous.
To support this work, please give to our Children At Risk programme, using the buttons below. Or consider becoming a monthly partner to enable this work to continue. Thank you!