Bintu, Sierra Leone
"Like almost every other Ebola-affected family we lost our business and savings in the chaos. But we were lucky, because in January Aunty was given money to start a firewood business. She is doing it well. She has expanded it recently and started selling palm oil too. So things had become better. And when I heard about school restarting, I was anxious to ask Aunty if I could go. I was so happy when she promised that we would – she could afford it, thanks to the little money she is making from the firewood and oil. And so last Tuesday (April 2015) I dressed in my new uniform and went to school - excited and proud". Read how your donations helped Bintu here.
Offering children the chance to go to school is important for so many reasons. Education enables people to devise their own solutions to issues affecting their lives and their communities, breaking cycles of poverty and disenfranchisement.
It helps people understand how to keep themselves safe from risky behaviors such as teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, or petty crime, and have good sexual health and relationships.
it also helps people to understand how viruses such as Ebola are contracted and transmitted, which is crucial to reducing the likelihood of another devastating Ebola outbreak in the future. And it gives people a greater ability to sustain a positive economic future.
The need for education
Children who rely on the streets for their survival rarely experience only one challenge in their lives; rather, a number of challenges, which together create a formidable barrier to accessing education. Hunger, Ebola stigma, financial instability and/or poverty, physical and psychological trauma, child labor, and ill health are all components of a complex system which conspires to keep children out of school, and for which there is no one perfect solution.
Without access to food, shelter, a home environment which supports the concept of education, clothes, psycho-social support, and the means for families to become financially sustainable, thousands of children miss out on an education every year, creating generations of adults who do not have access to the most basic of resources: the ability to provide a financial safety net for themselves and their families.
How does Street Child help?
Vulnerable street children will continue to miss educational opportunities until we have addressed every single one of the challenges facing them and their families, in a way that is meaningful to them. When necessary, we provide food relief, so that they can attend school with a full belly; we reunify them with caring families who are supportive of education, and we offer income generation initiatives in both urban and rural settings. We even build rural schools and train teachers to ensure improved educational outcomes.
For a detailed description of our model, click here.