MARIATU, THE EBOLA ORPHAN CARING FOR HER YOUNGER BROTHERS AT 15

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At 15, she lost both her parents to Ebola and took on the responsibility of caring for her two younger brothers, just 12 and nine years old. In one year, her life has turned upside down. 

"I do petty trading to try and support both my brothers through school but it is very hard to raise the money for fees, books and uniforms. I want to be somebody, I want to finish school. I also really want my brothers to finish education and get well paid jobs. I get on very well with both my brothers, we look after each other”.

Mariatu and her brothers are now receiving support to access school, so they can have a brighter future. 

Volunteer in Kathmandu!

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‘I feel really fortunate to have contributed to this project throughout its various stages. Working alongside the local team and getting to know them in the process has been a huge bonus and definitely a highlight of my experience!’ Street Child International Volunteer Hannah spoke to adventure travel blogger Mapping Megan about her experience in Kathmandu. 

Read the interview.

Read about our volunteering opportunities.

Get in touch if you're interested in having a similar experience at volunteer@street-child.us.

New Junior High for Whitefield Community, Liberia

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Earlier this week our team in Liberia visited Whitefield Community near Mount Coffee. The community's Junior High School has been standing in disrepair for over 2 decades after it was damaged during Liberia's civil war. Currently, the nearest junior high is many miles away.

In collaboration with Dawnus Construction, we're building a three-classroom school in the area to give more children the chance to go to school and learn in a country which has the world's worst education indicators

Fina's story

Our team in Liberia has been out talking to girls who are back in school thanks to your support during our Girls Speak Out campaign. Fina Tama's grandmother is looking after 11 grandchildren. We gave her a business grant this year to support her small shop, and now Fina has just started at her local school, Massaquoi Junior High. It's the only high school in Westpoint slum, where Fina (pictured front) lives with her grandmother. 

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National Geographic writes about the Sierra Leone Marathon!

Sierra Leone Marathon winners. Image: Will Whitford

Sierra Leone Marathon winners. Image: Will Whitford

Sierra Leone: Run for their lives

Running the Sierra Leone Marathon, organised by international charity Street Child, is about much more than sheer endurance — it also helps to raise funds for children across the country

By Sue Watt. Published on 26th September 2017

“We don’t want to scare you, but you need to know that you can die from dehydration.” This is the chief medic’s ominous warning before we head to the start line. “It’s tough, hot and humid out there, so be responsible: drink and drink and drink…”

At 7.20am, the temperature is around 90F, the air feels close and clammy, and I’ve drunk so much water it’s sloshing around in my tummy as I run. The Sierra Leone Marathon takes in the mandatory 26 miles and a bit around the northern market town of Makeni, through sleepy rural villages and up steep forested hills on bumpy terracotta-colored tracks: it’s not for the fainthearted. So instead, I’m running the six-mile race around Makeni’s lively streets... read more.

PSL YEAR 1 EVALUATION SHOWS SUBSTANTIAL LEARNING GAINS ARE BOTH POSSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE FOR LIBERIA - STREET CHILD PERSPECTIVE

Street Child welcomes the release of today's evaluation by the Center for Global Development (CGD) and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) of the first year of the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) program. PSL has been a topic that has generated much commentary and speculation, informed and misinformed, in the past 18 months. This report brings welcome hard facts to the table.

Above all, Street Child is delighted to be classified as one of three operators to have achieved 'statistically significant' learning gains in year one - in particular as our model is predicated on investments and longer-term changes, and so we do not expect the real benefits to emerge until year three.

The report also highlights various challenges. It is right to do so. In a country like Liberia, whose education system has been battered by years of conflict and Ebola, changing the status quo is not easy. The report was designed to provide candid feedback to both operators and the Ministry of Education, and much of that feedback is already being addressed in the second year of the program. Street Child has learned a lot in year one. Year two will be even better.

One of the main issues the report highlights is the long-term affordability and comparative value of the learning gains. While all providers are working towards financial sustainability, Street Child spent only $60 per student (on top of the Ministry of Education budget of $50 per student). Street Child is delighted in year 1 to lead the argument for the case that significant learning gains can be attained at an affordable price.

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TRAINING TEACHERS IN NIGERIA IN EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES

In North-East Nigeria, millions of children and families have been forced to flee their homes following conflict, leaving thousands of children out of schoolIn partnership with Nigeria's Gender, Equality, Peace and Development Centre, Street Child is establishing one of several temporary learning centers in Maiduguri, to give 300 children the chance to go to school.

As part of the program, 10 facilitators from nearby communities are training in Education in Emergencies so they are ready to provide basic education and life skills to cope with emergencies. Peer clubs within the school will provide psycho-social support to girls and boys. Street Child will also be providing educational support to 100 households to ensure that these families can afford to send their children to school long-term.

MEET THE TEACHERS  

Japhet was born in Maiduguri and is currently taking part in the Education in Emergencies training workshop.

'Due to the insurgency some children lost their parents and are displaced. Street Child is the best opportunity to take them back to school and get to the right path. I feel passion in helping the less privileged in gaining more knowledge. They will help their families and their society. I would like to be a lecturer in the future.'

22-year-old Stella is also from Maiduguri and graduated from the Maiduguri College of Education.

'I have not had the opportunity to gain any practical experience of teaching since I graduated last year, which was a source of worry for me because I was trained to be a teacher. I believe the Street Child teacher training program will open me to new knowledge, thinking, teaching approaches and perspectives, especially as it has to do with the children in conflict situation here in Maiduguri. My responsibility is not only to contribute to helping the children acquire basic literacy and numeracy, but also to support them in overcoming the emotional and traumatic situation facing them as a result of the crisis. I want to give a listening ear to them when they want to speak, and be there for them at all times.'

STREET CHILD'S FIRST PROJECT LAUNCHES IN NIGERIA

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On Saturday 18 February 2017 Nigeria officially became the fourth country Street Child works in, when we launched our first project in the New Kuchingoro Displaced Persons Camp, on the edge of Nigeria's capital Abuja. 

In November, we launched a fundraising campaign in response to conflict in the North East of the country, which has left three million children unable to go to school. We're now on the ground and taking action to help families whose lives have been torn apart by conflict. This project in Abuja is just the first step of our planned work in the country. 

This specific project will work with families who have been displaced by the conflict, which has forced 2.7 million people to flee their homes since 2011. It is providing 150 children with sustainable education support, so that they can return to school and remain in education. We are also giving 30 mothers vocational training and business support so that they can rebuild their lives and provide for their children long term. 

Right now, we are planning further projects in Nigeria, partnering with local organizations to provide children with the safe education spaces that they deserve. Your support is making it possible for us to give hope to a generation of children. Thank you. 

THE STORY OF SERAH PETER: CHANGING LIVES IN CONFLICT-IMPACTED NIGERIA

Serah is just one of 30 mothers who received a business grant from Street Child in Nigeria, after fleeing their homes from conflict in the North East of the country. Serah lives in the New Kuchingoro IDP camp with her four children; one of them is a Sickle Cell Anemia patient.

According to Serah, her daughter’s health condition has been a great concern to them as she is often ill and requires a blood transfusion every two months. She showed Street Child her hospital debt - $230. Serah lost her source of income because of the conflict, but is desperate to clear the debt.

Thanks to Street Child, Serah received a business grant and training which enabled her to start a bead-making business within the camp. Her business is going well and she has told us how in just two week of receiving the grant she has sold $50 worth of beads and is able to start paying the hospital bill. She has paid $32 off the bill and re-invested $15 into her business.

Serah added that if the sales continue like this, in a short while she will have cleared the hospital debt and still have enough to re-invest into her business, save, provide for the family and manage the health of her sick daughter.

She concluded by thanking Street Child for their support and for empowering her to set up a sustainable business so she can continue to care for her family.

Learn more about our work in Nigeria. 

STREET CHILD HELPS GIRLS GO BACK TO SCHOOL

“They help you to help yourself”

All the chairs in the classrooms are stacked up, and the children have gone home. The grounds in front of the school are empty, and the playground next door is quiet. But one group of girls is still in the classroom, busily studying into the afternoon.

These girls are all 17 and 18 year olds who have recently gone back to school after being out of school for a long time. They are working with a teacher to catch up on the lessons they have missed. This will allow them to go back into Grade Six instead of a lower class, where they might feel more self-conscious of their age, and therefore more likely to drop out again.

“I had to drop out of school because my Ma passed away and there was no money to send me,” said Ellie, 18. “Now, I don’t know how old the other children in my class are, but I don’t mind. I want to be a medical doctor one day.”

Thanks to our Girls Speak Out appeal, Street Child was able to provide grants for school materials, ID cards and uniforms for the girls. Despite all government schools in Liberia being nominally free of charge, these additional costs can be more than some families can afford.

If the older girls feel uncomfortable in class, or that they have missed too much, there is a danger that girls may stop going altogether. Over 73% of all Liberian children drop out between elementary and junior high school. That’s why Street Child catch-up classes are so important. With the help of teachers and the Street Child social workers, the girls in this rural school can continue moving up the grade system and graduate as soon as possible – a goal to which they all aspire.

Find out about the Girls Speak Out campaign.