121 million children around the world cannot go to school. We're working to change that.
121 million primary-age children are not being given the chance to go to school. Millions more are in school but failing to learn. Street Child is building schools, training teachers and helping the world's most vulnerable children to go to school. Here's how:
Globally, millions of children live, sleep or survive on the streets - because of conflict, crisis or poverty. Without support, they face danger and violence and are a long way from going to school. Street Child was started in 2008 to help street children in Sierra Leone who were in this situation. Our work began with a single project for 100 street children in Makeni, Northern Sierra Leone. Since then, we have become experts in child protection and have helped thousands of street children to find a safe home and go to school. But we aren't stopping there. With your help, we want to support thousands more children off the streets and into school. We want to give thousands more children the chance of a brighter future.
What We Are Doing.
We work to help children off the streets, away from danger and into school. We don't believe in orphanages or any other form of centre. Instead, our dedicated 'street teams' and social workers work hard to change the lives of as many children as possible. Their 'office' is the street. They spend their time meeting and gradually befriending street-connected children - gaining trust and fulfilling the role of the safe, responsible adult that is missing from so many of these children's lives.
Through a process of counselling and mediation, our teams work to strengthen the child's family bonds - starting, if needs be, with family tracing and reunification.
Once the child is settled in a secure family environment, Street Child focuses on helping them back to school, including in most cases, introducing the family to our livelihood support teams to help ensure that the family has the financial strength to keep the child in school.
Street Child also works to protect children and prevent them from depending on the street in the first place. We do this by strengthening rural education - migrating to towns for education is a common reason children end up on the streets. We also work to strengthen child protection with Child Welfare Committees and other school community-based advocacy.
From rural areas that have never had a school to classrooms that have been destroyed because of disaster or conflict, millions of children are unable to go to school across the world today simply because there are no schools for them to go to. For children who are in school, many schools are not good enough quality with hundreds of students per classroom, a lack of toilets, sanitary facilities, capable teachers or adequate learning materials.
Parental and community attitudes can often also hold back children's education, especially for girls from late primary-school age and upwards, stopping them from going to school or making them earn a living for the family instead of getting an education.
Every child should have the chance to go to school and learn. We are working to give vulnerable children that chance.
What We Are Doing.
We work with communities to build schools, train teachers, promote the importance of education and ensure that all solutions are sustainable long-term.
Building schools in rural communities is at the heart of our education work. We began in 2010 building 'first-ever schools' for some of the most remote communities in the highly rural Tambakha Chiefdom in northern Sierra Leone. Since then, we have broadened our work to include: building and setting up schools in disaster- or conflict-impacted areas in Nepal and Nigeria. Between 2010 and 2017, Street Child built or repaired over 430 schools.
Street Child also works to improve the quality of teaching and schools. In Sierra Leone we have built high-quality classrooms to help reduce overcrowding in secondary schools and we are working to improve the quality of education in schools across rural Liberia.
We also train teachers. From 2010 to 2017 we supported over 400 teachers to complete Government-recognised training courses and over 500 teachers have benefitted from major in-service training and continuous professional development programmes - and many more from shorter, more specialised interventions on topics such as 'disaster risk resilience' and 'education in emergencies'.
Where attitudes prove an obstacle to education, Street Child staff advocate at community and household levels to promote the rights of all children to education - and the importance of on-going parental and caregiver support to a child's academic progress. Street Child also trains and supports communities in managing and holding to account their own schools.
Street Child supports schools to find ways of paying teachers and affording the costs of education by helping communities grow their income. Since 2013 we have provided over 100 school management committees with agricultural grants and technical support to develop rice farms and seed lending schemed where the projects made following harvest help to meet educational costs.
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. That’s why our livelihoods programmes are a critical part of our work helping children getting into, and staying in, school.
What We Are Doing.
We support low income families with tailored packages of support to lift themselves out of extreme poverty so they are able to afford the costs of educating their children. As well as a financial input, we typically provide business training, planning support, mentoring and access to an incentivised savings schemes. Since 2009 we have supported over 15,000 families through these models and over 90 per cent of those families are still managing to fund their children’s education.
CHILDREN IN EMERGENCIES
Natural disasters and wars have the most brutal impact on children - whose futures can be turned upside down as they are forced to flee their homes, see their loved ones killed or injured, their schools closed and even face the risk of being recruited into fighting forces.
Up to a third of the world's out-of-school children live in disaster and conflict-affected countries - a percentage that is rising annually. Out-of-school children is Street Child's primary issue. This is why education in emergencies is a priority area for Street Child. Despite everything only 2% of all humanitarian funds are presently spent on education.
In all emergency programming, Street Child works closely with the UN/IASC Education and Protection Cluster structures.
What We Are Doing.
Each emergency is different, bringing its individual challenges. However, in every situation, we do what we can to protect children and education in, and after, emergencies - and distinctively, we do so by placing local actors, and communities, at the heart of our action.
In conflict-impacted North East Nigeria, we are presently operating learning centres in internally displaced persons (IDP) settlements. In Abuja, we are supporting IDP mothers from the North East so they can better afford the costs of education through livelihoods support.
In the immediate aftermath of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal we worked with UNICEF and local NGOs to distribute school materials and construct temporary learning centres (TLCs). Over the course of 2016 and 2017 we have worked with UNICEF and other partners to construct over 400 classrooms in villages hit by the earthquake.
When Ebola began to fade in Sierra Leone and Liberia in early 2015, Street Child played a massive role in the nationwide post-Ebola school re-opening processes, working alongside UNICEF, governments, other charities and communities to re-open schools as quickly as possible. We refurbished schools, equipped them with essential Ebola-safety hygiene materials and distributed livelihood support and cash grants to cover school charges - altogether helping over 45,000 children safely return to school in 2015.
During Ebola itself, Street Child focused on two critical areas. We fought Ebola itself by turning our network of rural school teachers in an 'Ebola educator' team, numbering nearly 2,000 men and women at its peak, knocking on the doors of tens of thousands of homes to explain 'man to man' and 'woman to woman' what precisely Ebola was and how it could be avoided. Almost uniquely, we also cared for the victims of Ebola, especially the children, during the heart of the crisis - by March 2015, Street Child teams had counted, and supported over 11,000 'Ebola orphans'. In 2017 Street Child continues to care for the worst-affected Ebola orphans through social support and a special feeding programme in conjunction with the World Food Programme.
After the devastating flooding and mudslides in Freetown, Sierra Leone in August 2017 Street Child was one of the first major international agencies to respond. Within 24 hours we were providing emergency food packages and clean water. Our longer term focus will be to support the children and families impacted by the crisis to rebuild their lives - including ensuring that children return to school.
WHERE WE WORK
Street Child is committed to using the models we have developed in Sierra Leone in other countries in need.
In 2008, Street Child began working in Sierra Leone with a small number of street children, before working on family reunification and income generation, which later became a sustainable model. We have also allowed access to education in the most remote regions..
Street Child has also been running projects in Liberia since 2013. As in Sierra Leone, our focus is on improving the quality of education and helping children outside school, especially in remote areas
Street Child has also been working in Nepal since 2015, hit by a devastating earthquake that left one million children out-of-school due to the destruction of many classrooms.
In 2016, due to the humanitarian crisis in northern Nigeria as a result of the Boko Haram attacks, the UN approached us for our support. In 2017, Street Child launched its first project there to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.
Street Child carries out research in the countries we work in to influence our programme design and better understand the issues facing the children and families we work with.
2018 Study on the Barriers to Education for Children with Disabilities in Sierra Leone
The planning of new inclusive education services is being hampered by a lack of reliable data on education and disability in Sierra Leone. To help address this challenge, Street Child conducted both primary and secondary research on barriers to education for children with disabilities in Sierra Leone.
2017 Meet the Musahars: Understanding Musahar Marginalisation
Our latest research in Nepal aims to understand the factors affecting the Musahar community - the most marginalised group in Nepal, their ability to access education and their attitudes towards exclusion and inclusion from education.
2016 National Consultation on Adolescent Girls' Education in Sierra Leone
Our staff interviewed 2,000 in and out-of-school girls across Sierra Leone to better understand the barriers to girls' education. This major Street Child report outlines the top five barriers to girls' education as reported by the girls themselves in Sierra Leone.
2015 Street Child Sierra Leone Ebola Orphan Report
The Street Child Ebola Orphan Report, the first of its kind to be produced, uncovers the true scale and nature of the Ebola orphan crisis and formed the basis for Street Child's Ebola Orphan Appeal supporting the 12,000 children orphaned by the devastating virus.
2012 Street Child National Head Count of Street Children in Sierra Leone
Street Child staff conducted the first ever headcount of street children across Sierra Leone to understand the numbers of children living on the streets of Sierra Leone and the reasons behind why they are there and how best to support them to return to school.