For so many of the families we work with, the cost of education is a high barrier. Simple household poverty keeps millions of children out of school, a tragic pattern which, unless broken, has the potential to self-repeat endlessly.
In 2016 we asked 2,000 girls across Sierra Leone about the barriers to education. The girls identified poverty as by far the biggest barrier.
Yet education has the power to transform lives and reduce poverty. In fact, if all children left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of extreme poverty.
What We Are Doing
That’s why our livelihoods programs are a critical part of our work helping children getting into, and staying in, school.
Our income generation initiatives form the fulcrum of our support model, based on the understanding that offering families the opportunity to generate their own income, and be self-sufficient, is crucial to their ability to send their children to school with full bellies, ready for learning, and live a healthy, economically resilient future.
Our teams provide families living in urban areas with business grants and loans so they can set up or grow a sustainable business. As well as a financial input, we typically provide business training, planning support, mentoring, and access to an incentivized savings schemes. We also provide families in rural areas with enough seed to farm that they can both feed themselves and sell surplus for profit.
Since 2009 we have supported over 22,000 families through these models, and over 90 per cent of those families are still managing to fund their children’s education.
To help make schools themselves sustainable, we also offer a seed-lending scheme for rural communities, helping villages to build and maintain local schools, and pay teachers, through collective farming.
How You Can Help
It costs just $30 a month for a year to set up a family in business so they can afford the cost of educating their children. With your help, we can transform the lives of more families.
Stories From Our Work
MANU, MAMIE, AND NANCY, THE THREE WOMEN CARING FOR 26 CHILDREN
Manu, Mamie, and Nancy are the three wives of hospital worker Foday Tommy. Foday, the family’s main breadwinner, died during the Ebola epidemic, and the three women have been left looking after 26 children between them - some biologically theirs, and others whom they have adopted.
The mothers received a business grant from Street Child, and have started selling pepper, okra, palm oil, and vegetables.
Manu: ‘It is only recently that the children have stopped crying. The grant is a source of courage to me - it helps reduce worry. The business is growing gradually but it’s still tough when you have this many children and you have no husband. Life is still tough for us, but I’m glad our children are in school because, at the end of the day, it’s the children that can make their story a different one.’
FATU SAAH, A SINGLE MOM WHO HAS BECOME A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS OWNER
Fatu Saah is a single mother. She is caring for eight children, including three nieces and nephews, after her brother and sister passed away during Ebola.
With the help of Street Child she has set up a sustainable business selling wholesale palm oil. Street Child helped her to expand her business and gave her training on savings methods. Since then her business has been so successful she has been able to save enough to build a new shop! With the profits from her business, she is able to send her children to school.
“Street Child has lifted the burden. They have made our lives change.'