Worldwide, 124 million children and adolescents are out of school. Millions more who do attend school do not acquire basic skills in mathematics and reading. And every day, conditions beyond their control—gender, ethnicity, economic status, geography, conflict, disaster—force children and youth to drop out. But giving up on them isn’t an option.
We support education from children’s earliest years to secondary school and on through university or vocational training. We place a strong emphasis on girls’ education to address the current and historical disadvantage for girls, improving access and quality and ensuring that girls have safe, girl-friendly places to learn. For refugees, children with disabilities, child laborers, and more, we prioritize inclusive, innovative educational programming that meets vulnerable children and youth where they are and addresses their unique needs. For older youth, we support life skills, vocational, and entrepreneurship education so that they are empowered to make smart decisions, build financial resilience, and shape their own futures.
Baoji QingQingCao Rehabilitation and Education Center for Handicapped Children / Baoji, Shaanxi Province, China
China is home to millions of children with disabilities, but too many don’t have the opportunity to go to school—nearly a third are growing up without an education. Many live in rural areas, where families typically can’t afford the education, medical treatment, and care that their children need.
Additionally, a lack of inclusive schools and trained teachers prevents children with disabilities from attending kindergarten and primary school—and effectively eliminates their chances for future education and employment. Yet research indicates that education and therapy, especially in early childhood, can diminish the effects of disability.
Baoji QingQingCao Rehabilitation and Education Center for Handicapped Children (QQC) is the only organization in Shaanxi Province that provides holistic care to children living with disabilities, including those with cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disabilities, and Down syndrome. QQC focuses on children under the age of 8, intervening early in their lives with both specialized education and physical therapy. The ultimate goal is to help each child enroll in a mainstream school.
Parents, too, receive training in how to care for their children’s special needs. Often, simply learning more about their child’s abilities enables parents to better perceive the child’s potential to become self-sufficient. QQC also educates the broader community about the rights and needs of children with disabilities, and trains village doctors to identify and refer these children for appropriate treatment and care. In other words, QQC is building a network of support for children who deserve a childhood of inclusion and opportunity.
Insan Association / Beirut, Lebanon
Greater Beirut hosts 30% of the 1.5 million refugees in Lebanon, half of whom are children. Many of these children experienced terrible violence and trauma before arriving in their new home. Coming from Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere, most refugee families settle in Beirut’s shantytowns, where there are high levels of crime and violence. Because resources are scarce and many refugees lack legal status, schools and healthcare are virtually inaccessible to them.
Insan Association offers holistic support to some of Beirut’s most vulnerable children, including refugees, displaced children, and girls who have been sexually or physically abused. Through its community school and after-school program, Insan provides participating children (a majority of whom are Syrian refugees) with a safe place to learn, play, and heal from trauma.
Insan’s social workers visit refugee families in their homes, where they offer counseling to help them process their fears and grief. Insan also rescues and supports girls who are forced into early marriage or domestic work—helping them leave unsafe situations, get counseling and legal aid, and go to school.
COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa / Kyangwali, Uganda
Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in western Uganda is home to more than 20,000 refugees, mostly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most schools inside the camp are overcrowded, with too few teachers and inadequate learning materials. Children and youth growing up in the camp struggle to perform well in primary and secondary school, let alone continue their education at a university.
COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa (CIYOTA) is dedicated to nurturing children and youth from the Kyangwali refugee camp and equipping them to become future leaders and peacemakers. In addition to running a primary school and an early childhood development program inside the camp, CIYOTA rents two hostels in major towns to house students as they attend some of the best secondary schools in western Uganda, which are located far from the camp.
To help students improve their academic performance, CIYOTA offers supplemental academic programs on weekends and non-school days; the organization has also placed special emphasis on girls’ education and has expanded its secondary-school program to accommodate more girls. Some of CIYOTA’s program participants have already returned home to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and have carried the CIYOTA model with them, initiating similar projects in their own communities.
Social and Development Research and Action Group / Noida, India
In recent years, the city of Noida has rapidly industrialized, attracting migrant workers. Migrant families and children (especially those without documents) are often denied education and other public services. Acquiring documentation is difficult and is often too expensive for migrant families to manage on their limited means. As a result, these children are excluded from the basic services they need to be safe, healthy, and educated.
Social and Development Research and Action Group (SADRAG) provides a lifeline to migrant children in Noida, including child laborers and children living on the streets. As part of its Ugta Suraj program, SADRAG runs five learning and support centers across the city, serving migrant children who have either dropped out of or never attended school. Through an academic curriculum and extracurricular activities, SADRAG helps children to build a variety of skills and prepare for formal school. SADRAG uses an innovative approach to enroll children in local government schools, providing organizational endorsements to overcome the children’s lack of legal documentation. Once the children transition to formal schools, Ugta Suraj’s centers provide academic support to ensure that the children stay on track.
SADRAG’s other programs focus on building the capacity of women and children through education, health services, and skill development. The organization regularly involves stakeholders such as school systems, local government, other civil society organizations, and community members in its programs to promote children’s and women’s rights.
The Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.
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