SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA -- In this region of Africa, it is estimated that 40 million children are receiving no education at all -- nearly half of all those of school age. It is predicted that this figure could rise to 60 million by the year 2015, if enrollment rates continue to fall. Because of the need for classrooms, teachers and educational materials, funding is urgently needed. But finding the necessary money will be difficult.
Since many African children have to work, they do not have the time to attend school. As a result, it is predicted that many African countries will need to double their spending on education and more affluent countries will need to more than match that amount in financial assistance to get every child into a classroom.
“With the number of orphans on the rise, those who are the‘bread-winners’ for many family units are children themselves,” explains PR. Hassan Mubiru of Open Heart Orphanage Ministry.
“These boys and girls cannot go to school because they must work every day to find food for their siblings. It is a situation which many people in the developed countries cannot understand or fathom, but it is a reality for the children of Africa.”
In one out of four African countries, a United Nations report states, half of the children enrolled in the last year of primary school do not pursue their studies the following year. In another 25% of countries, only one in three pupils at the end of primary school moves on to secondary education.
“If children receive financial help -- with money school fees, clothing, food, water, shelter -- basic necessities,” Fr. Lynch explained, “then they return to school. They want education -- but what can they do when they are hungry?”
Recent findings by the United Nations support this. In Madagascar, when school fees such as tuition and book fees were removed, primary school enrollment rates surged to 98 percent. Now, 89 percent of the nation’s primary-aged children are enrolled in primary school. The number of students completing primary school has climbed from 47
percent to 60 percent.
“With increased support from those of us living in more developed nations such as the U.S. and European countries, we could see a dramatic change in the future of Africa. Children there are no different than anywhere else; they want education -- they want to be together in an learning environment. But they also need food, clothing and shelter.
We can make a difference in the Lives of Children on an entire continent—for generations to come
We know what needs to be done.”