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Educating Underprivileged Children

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    In Australia, more than half of children from low socio-economic backgrounds do not complete Year 12. This is a major issue as it leaves them under-qualified but still very capable. 

    They are then left without a stable income and often out on the streets living life on the edge. It's time for this to change! Take some time to learn about our new initiative that will help these kids get back on track and give them hope for their future. 

    Education is the most important factor in whether or not a child will live below the poverty line. Educating children is very costly, yet it's one of the best investments we can make. The UN estimates that if all kids had equal access to education, $53 trillion would be added to global GDP by 2030. 

    This blog post explores how Australia can help underprivileged children get an education and break out of poverty. It also explains why educating these children is so crucial to their future success and what you can do about it!    If you want to know more about this topic, please keep reading!   

    Access To Education For All

    Education And Poverty

    All children have a right to an education. But millions of children miss out on school every year.  

    Without an education, children's employment and livelihoods remain limited, with significant socio-economic and health impacts.

    One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to ensure that every child completes primary and secondary school by 2030. Over the past decade, significant gains have been made in improving child and adult literacy rates. But poverty, conflict, gender inequality and COVID-19 threaten to wipe out years of progress.  

    Why Are Children Missing Out On Education?

    Poverty and education are connected in a vicious cycle. When you’re living in poverty, it is difficult to afford an education. Without an education, it is hard to earn sufficient income to lift yourself out of poverty. This cycle can continue for generations.

    Families living in poverty face a tough choice between their short-term, immediate needs and the long-term benefits of education. Disadvantaged households often do not have sufficient resources to pay for essentials such as school uniforms, stationery or transportation.

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    When we tackle poverty in disadvantaged communities, we improve the likelihood of children finishing school. Something as basic as supporting a community to build a well can have flow-on effects for children’s education. A community with improved access to safe water means children will spend less time walking to collect water for their families and more time in the classroom.

    Women Are Particularly Disadvantaged

    Gender inequality, traditional social hierarchies and cultural norms are strong barriers to girls’ education. For example, in households with multiple children, parents may send their sons to school rather than their daughters because they are seen as having higher wage-earning potential. Girls are instead designated domestic duties, such as collecting food and water for the family.

    In many communities around the world, girls are forced to marry before they finish their education. Child marriage robs girls of the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge they need to become financially independent. It is essential that we keep girls in school so they are empowered to make their own life decisions. Girls who have completed their schooling are much more likely to marry at a later age, have fewer children and earn higher incomes. This, in turn, helps to lift disadvantaged households out of poverty.

    The fear of gender-based violence can also discourage girls from attending school. In many communities, girls walk long distances to their nearest school. This puts them at high risk of sexual violence on their way to and from school.

    Many schools in disadvantaged communities also lack adequate toilet facilities or access to clean water. As a result, girls would often skip school during their period or drop out altogether. When we improve health and sanitation in schools, we also improve girls’ prospects of continuing their education.

    COVID-19 Has Disrupted Education Worldwide

    The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse years of progress in children’s education. Lockdown has forced many schools around the world to close. With the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, many of these schools may never reopen again.

    The pandemic has also highlighted the digital divide between the rich and the poor. Remote learning is currently out of reach for at least 500 million students. In many disadvantaged communities, children do not have laptops or a strong internet connection to continue learning during lockdown.

    Upskilling Teachers In Local Communities

    Disadvantaged communities often face a shortage of skilled, qualified teachers. We believe local teachers should be the agents of change in their communities. That’s why we must empower local teachers with the resources and training they need to run their classrooms.

    In Vietnam, people who live with disabilities often have poor access to education. Our partner agency Sustainable Rural Development (SRD), supports local teachers with training to provide more inclusive education for children with a disability.

    Through our partner agency Jesuit Refugee Services, we have also strengthened the capacity of the Kareeni education department to deliver quality education in refugee camps on the Thailand-Myanmar border.

    Continuing Education During Times Of Conflict

    An estimated 4 million refugee children worldwide are out of school today because of war and civil strife.

    The ongoing Syrian conflict, now in its tenth year, has disrupted the education of a generation of children. Our partners Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Caritas Jordan, run remedial learning support programs for refugee children from Syria. These classes ensure refugee children can continue learning, so they do not fall behind with their education. They also provide children with a safe space that can support their emotional development as they recover from the psychological distress and trauma of displacement.

    Continuing Education During Times Of Conflict

    An estimated 4 million refugee children worldwide are out of school today because of war and civil strife.

    The ongoing Syrian conflict, now in its tenth year, has disrupted the education of a generation of children. Our partners Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Caritas Jordan, run remedial learning support programs for refugee children from Syria. 

    These classes ensure refugee children can continue learning, so they do not fall behind with their education. They also provide children with a safe space that can support their emotional development as they recover from the psychological distress and trauma of displacement.

    Education Prepares For Life After Prison

    Women in Cambodian prisons often come from disadvantaged backgrounds with low literacy levels. In addition, many are repeat offenders who find it a challenge to adjust to society after being released from prison. As a result, they may resort to petty theft and end up in jail again. But education and training can be a lifeline for women in prisons.

    Through our partner, Caritas Cambodia, we run the Comprehensive Prison Program across six Cambodian prisons. This program supports vocational training programs to help women prepare for life outside the prison system. This includes literacy classes, sewing classes, computer training and other valuable skills that can help them find employment.

    Educating Underprivileged Children Right Now

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    Here is a quick guide that gets you started with 5 easy ways to educate the less fortunate children around your neighbourhood.

    Important Note: Before you embark on any of these ideas, please ensure that you have a longer-term curriculum in place and get it validated by a qualified and certified school teacher/principal.

    Rent A Small Van/Mini-bus And Start A Weekend Mobile-school

    All you need is a couple of volunteers, a balanced curriculum of academics and engaging activities, and a small van that can double up as a classroom when parked. First, identify an area which has high concentration of poor children (usually slums in your city) and take your mobile school to that area every weekend. Initial traction may be tough, but if you remain persistent and make the classes enjoyable, the kids are sure to turn up every time they hear your van approaching!

    Case Study: Mukti Gupta has started a successful mobile school in Kolkata. Read her story to get ideas on how you could start your own mobile school too!

    Start A Classroom Right Inside Your Living Room!

    If you work from home or return from the office early enough, you could get the lesser-privileged children from around your neighbourhood right inside your living room and conduct classes right there. You don’t need a lot of resources, just your home and the right curriculum will be enough to give these children quality education for free. 

    You could also get your neighbours to join in and help out with different subjects and activities. One of the ways you can spread the word around is by talking to your own domestic helps, such as maids etc. and asking them to send their children to you (in case they don’t go to a school).

    You can also do this as a weekend activity, supplementing these children’s learning in their local schools. Make a difference today by starting your own living room school!

    Start A Library With Old Books

    Collect old books from your neighbours, friends, family, colleagues – anyone who is keen to contribute to your cause. Put up a Facebook post or a tweet asking for books. Go to the nearby locality where there are many underprivileged children. Identify a place (perhaps a tea stall?) where you can put these books up and get the children to come and browse through them. Instill a sense of ownership by having a logbook at the venue. 

    Any child picking up a book should enter his/her details and the book’s title in that logbook so that they get to manage the library on their own. Frequently check with the children on what they like and don’t like about this new library. Replenish the books once every month.

    Setup A Small Training Unit To Teach Skills To Children

    If you are good at any specific vocational skills (such as basket weaving, or stitching etc.), start a small unit in your locality where children can come and learn these skills from you. Ensure that the skill you are teaching is appropriate to the child’s age. Teaching a computer-based skill can be extremely handy to these children if they are exposed to it in the long run.

    Organise An Outdoor Sport Every Weekend With The Children

    They will not only enjoy the game, but they will also pick up many life skills in the process. Education is not always delivered through an academic curriculum. Sports such as football, cricket, hockey help children come out of their shells and become better team players. 

    Identify a ground near your community (perhaps a ground of a school/college?) which you can make use of on weekends. Get the parents and teachers of these children involved, too – that way, you can build a great sense of camaraderie amidst the children and their guardians.

    Not All Children Get An Equal Start In Life

    Today, one in six Australian children and young people are living in poverty1, where even life's basics are hard to come by. 

    When families are experiencing financial disadvantage, children can fall behind with their learning, leaving them more vulnerable to experiencing hardship themselves later in the life. 

    Research shows children and young people living in disadvantage have access to fewer books and learning materials in the home. Access to support and resources forms the foundation for learning. However, in many cases, the parents of disadvantaged children may not have the skills or experience to support their child’s education. 

    As these children get older, they have fewer role models and access to mentors and networks that are critical for creating educational opportunities to help them build their aspirations and be motivated to learn.

    The Cycle of Disadvantage

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    The effects of growing up in poverty go beyond the home environment. For over 1.2 million Australian children and young people, this can negatively affect their school life and mean they are less likely to achieve the educational outcomes (and in turn employment outcomes) that then limit their overall life outcomes, passing on disadvantage to the next generation.

    Families receiving our support face some complex and often compounding challenges:

    • All of them live in low-income families
    • More than half live in single-parent families, with 6% living with another relative or in foster care.
    • Around 40% of students and 50% of their parents/carers have a health or disability issue.
    • More than half have a parent or carer who didn’t finish Year 12
    • More than 70% of students have a parent or carer who is not in paid employment
    • One in five students in Years 5 – 12 have attended four or more schools
    • Three in 10 Learning for Life families/children do not have a computer or tablet connected to the internet

    The Impact Of Disadvantage

    Disadvantaged students are on average 2-3 years behind in reading and maths by the time they are 15 years old.

    The reading gap between the lowest socio‑economic status (SES) students and the highest SES students is equivalent to almost three years of schooling.

    Year 12 completion rates are significantly lower (60%) for students from low SES backgrounds than for students from high SES backgrounds (90%).

    University students from high SES backgrounds are three times more likely to attend than students from low SES backgrounds.

    Why Is Education So Important?

    Research shows that completing Year 12 (or equivalent) increases a young person’s likelihood of continuing with further study and entering the workforce.6

    It also leads to higher annual earnings for individuals, greater community involvement and economic benefits for the country as a whole.

    Not completing Year 12 can lead to:

    • Increased crime and poorer health outcomes among early school leavers
    • Nationally lower levels of productivity
    • Reduced quality of the labour force
    • Increased unemployment
    • Lower growth in income tax collections
    1. 5 Ways In Which You Can Start Educating Underprivileged Children Right Now. ...
    2. Rent a small van/mini-bus and start a weekend mobile-school. ...
    3. Start a classroom right inside your living room! ...
    4. Start a library with old books. ...
    5. Setup a small training unit to teach skills to children.
    5 Ways You Can Start Teaching Underprivileged Children Right Now
    1. Rent a small van/minibus and start a weekend mobile-school. ...
    2. Start a classroom right inside your living room! ...
    3. Start a library with old books. ...
    4. Setup a small training unit to teach skills to children. ...
    5. Organize an outdoor sport every weekend with the children.

    It helps a person to get knowledge and improve confidence level all through the life. It plays a great role in our career growth as well as in the personal growth. It has no limitation; people of any age group can get education anytime. It helps us to determine about good and bad things.

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