Education is one of the most powerful tools in the world. With an education, the world is yours to conquer. Unfortunately, millions of children around the world are denied access to a life-changing education due to poverty, inequality, and exploitation, with orphaned children more likely to be out of school.
In fact, more than 61 million around the world don’t attend primary school on any given day, meaning the most basic life skills are not being taught. Without an education, job prospects for an orphan child are severely limited, and they will be condemned to a life of instability and poverty. This cycle is incredibly hard to break, with generation after generation suffering in the same way.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Orphans in Need runs an orphan child sponsorship programme designed to elevate children and give them a fair chance at building a positive future for themselves. This includes giving them an education, but we can only teach children and give them opportunities with your support.
Obstacles to education
It’s important to understand the obstacles to education around the world. In the UK, children are automatically enrolled in school from the age of four to 18, with many going on to study at university. We are world leaders in education, with our children having access to some of the best schools and colleges in the world. This is something most of us take for granted, but for millions of children around the world, it’s their reality.
Without an education, children cannot go on to build careers for themselves. Not only does this mean they’re not given a fair chance at reaching their full potential, but without a career, it means they’re stuck working low-paid jobs for life.
An education can change that, but there are many barriers preventing children from going to school.
One of the leading reasons children are not able to attend school is because, in a lot of countries, it’s not free. Here in the UK, whether you are wealthy or poor, you can attend school and have your resources provided for you. This simply isn’t the case in developing nations.
Many families live day by day, never knowing where their next meal will come from, begging for scraps and undertaking meagre work to earn an honest but unsatisfactory wage. To help contribute, many children are forced out of school and into work, some before they are even 10 years old. They are expected to contribute to the family, and in many cases, they need to in order for everyone to eat.
This is more so the case with children who are orphans. Lots of countries where we work follow a traditional family structure where the father is the breadwinner and provides for his family. Should he die, the mother is often ill-equipped to work and may find it hard to find a job, leaving the responsibility on the child to support the family.
With money so scarce, food, shelter, and other basic survival necessities are prioritised, with no room in the budget for school.
Many children find themselves orphaned through conflict, with the effects of war rippling through every part of life. Not only do orphaned children have to deal with personal loss and grief, but conflict also means they have to come to terms with the fact their future is all but gone.
Widespread destruction means thousands of schools have had to close, either because they’ve become inaccessible, are unsafe to attend, or they’ve been destroyed altogether. In rural areas where infrastructure is limited at best, there might not be another school for miles and miles, meaning children living in the surrounding communities have nowhere to go.
For girls, a leading factor in education being inaccessible is child marriage. Whilst huge strides are being taken to tackle the issue, millions of girls are still married before they are 15, being pulled out of education in order to take on the role of a wife, often for a man who is much older than them.
Child marriage is often tied to poverty. Money and goods can be exchanged for marriage, meaning if families are desperate, they may choose to marry off their daughter to a wealthier family so they too can benefit from it.
Child marriage can affect boys, but it’s mostly girls who experience it. Once they’re married, many girls do not go to school and instead tend to the house and raise children, relying on their husbands for income. If he dies and she is widowed, she may send her children to work for financial support, and therefore the cycle starts again.
How orphan sponsorship helps
As one of the leading orphan support charities working in developing countries around the world, our sponsorship programmes are among the most comprehensive. We provide a better life for orphans through safe housing, nutritious meals, warm clothes, essential medical care, and a good education.
With these tools, orphans can go on to achieve great things. We know this because we’ve witnessed many of the children we work with go on to achieve their dreams. One such child is Musaib, who lives in Jammu and Kashmir. His lifelong dream was to become an engineer, something his father supported and worked to provide, but when his father died, Musaib had to leave school.
Luckily, Musaib was sponsored by a kind donor through Orphans in Need. We gave him the opportunity to re-start his education, and he is now studying at a leading engineering college, working to fulfil his dreams.
He’s just one of many children we’ve helped to receive an education and escape a daunted future. You can read more about how we’ve helped orphaned children forge successful careers through sponsorship in our magazine.
Sponsor an orphan
Taking care of orphans is what we do, but we can’t do it without your generous donations. Please sponsor a child today and save an orphan from a life of misery and poverty by giving them the greatest gift of all; an education.