The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global education crisis for the world’s most vulnerable children. That’s why Compassion’s local church partners are planning targeted, innovative ways to meet the cognitive needs of children in poverty—and your help is needed.
23 May, 2022
Over the past two years, 463 million children have been unable to access remote learning options. COVID-19 lockdowns have caused school closures globally, but in the developing world, they were up to three times longer than in other countries. As a result, a generation of children have fallen behind in their studies and missed out on the level of academic learning they could ordinarily have received.
“The reality is, we have lost a generation because of the impact of COVID-19 on education,” says Compassion Indonesia Country Director, Handoko Ngadiman.
Children in poverty were already facing disproportionate barriers to access education and training. Distance to school, lack of infrastructure, financial costs, child marriage, child labour and a lack of family support all threaten the future of a child in poverty. Without urgent intervention, the ripple effects of lost education during COVID-19 will be felt for decades—even generations—to come.
In every child there is enormous God-given potential. Compassion’s holistic child development model helps children to explore this and, with support, overcome the challenges preventing education opportunities.
But during crises like COVID-19 that directly erode a child’s learning and development, more help is needed than what our sponsorship program alone can provide.
Across over 25 program countries, our local church partners have been developing contextual solutions to meet the education needs of children in their communities. By giving to our 2022 Restore a Generation appeal, you can help create life-changing educational opportunities for all Compassion assisted children and young people.
Here are five examples of education projects you can support through the tax-deductible appeal:
1. Literacy skills in Brazil
For many of us, the ability to read and write is taken for granted. But for vulnerable children in Brazil, functional literacy can sometimes seem unattainable, particularly if their parents are unable to read and books are not available at home. Literacy is vital to a child’s cognitive development and progression into further education and gainful employment.
That’s why two Brazilian church partners have planned a literacy skills project to provide 160 Compassion assisted youth with individual tutoring. The support will enable these young people to find their voice, confidently produce their own writing and grow their letter-writing skills with sponsors. 12-year-old Sarah knows firsthand how empowering it feels to learn to read and write: “I was so proud when I wrote my first letter to my sponsor with my own hands and words!”
2. Vocational training in Brazil
Youth crime is often a direct result of poverty and a lack of access to education. For one of our church partners in Fortaleza, Brazil, local youth frequently drop out of school and are also the most common victims of violent crime.
To help children break the generational cycle of poverty and unemployment, the church has developed a ‘Young Apprentice Program’. It aims to provide vocational training to 100 Compassion assisted adolescents and equip them with the skills and confidence needed to find employment and contribute to positive change in their community. For Brazilian youth like Rhaldney, this initiative will create brighter futures for young people: “I have friends from the community who chose the wrong paths, but I'm grateful to the project for helping me to take a different path.”
3. Computer laboratories in Indonesia
We live in a digital era where technological literacy is increasingly important to a child’s education and their future employment prospects. Indonesian children in poverty, particularly those in rural areas, are greatly restricted in their access to technology for learning. For many, online learning during COVID-19 was impossible.
This project will see six child development centres in Indonesia equipped with computer laboratories and supported by trained technology tutors. More than 1,600 Compassion assisted children will have the opportunity to receive computer skills that help them pursue further education and attain formal employment. “Our youth must prepare themselves with computer skills to not be left behind,” says Indonesian centre director Jemmy.
4. Robotics workshop in El Salvador
Every child learns differently. For many, the traditional classroom setting limits their participation and interest in school. School dropout rates are alarmingly high in El Salvador and have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two child development centres in El Salvador have planned a unique project to keep youth engaged in formal studies through robotics. This project will provide two innovative mechatronics workshops that allow children to experiment and learn across the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Esau, a tutor from another centre who have successfully implemented a robotics facility, shares that “children of all ages enrolled in the workshop and achieved goals they never dreamed of.”
5. Developmental toys in El Salvador
Play is integral for a child’s healthy development. It helps them gain confidence, solve problems, grow friendships and build empathy for others. Our local church partners in El Salvador recognised the need to provide families in poverty with access to stimulating, safe play environments for their young children. Many parents simply cannot afford toys and other early childhood resources.
This project will help establish toy libraries across 10 child development centres in regions of El Salvador dominated by high poverty rates and low levels of formal education. More than 1,500 Compassion assisted children with benefit from this initiative. For parents like Camila, toys and play spaces are significant. “They represent a lot to our children because we cannot give them to them,” she shares.
To support these five education and training projects, plus many more, you can give to the tax-deductible Restore a Generation appeal.
Your help will support young people to reach their full God-given potential and discover a brighter future free of poverty and full of hope.
Words by Rachel Howlett with field reporting by Sara Navarro, Alejanda Zuniga, Vera Aurima and Juana Ordonez Martinez.
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