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Bringing learning to life

Early learning in Guinea-Bissau
Early learning in Guinea-Bissau

Can you imagine how tough it is to get by in today’s world if you can’t read or write?

That’s why education is at the heart of our drive to help families and communities break the cycle of poverty and enjoy the health, wellbeing and quality of life that goes hand in hand with sustainable development.

From nursery, primary and secondary schools to vocational training centres, specialist technical schools and two international colleges, we try to bring learning within reach of as many children and communities as possible, from the earliest years to adult learning. Whether we build a school from scratch or refurbish in partnership with local authorities, our education centres – almost 500 of them attended by around 145,000 children worldwide – are run to inspire a love of learning and nurture the knowledge and skills that young people need to make their way in life.

Global literacy facts in brief

Global literacy facts in brief

Far and wideReaching far and wide

Where people are marginalised, vulnerable and likely to be excluded from education, we find creative ways to reach deep into communities to make learning available to them – as you can see here.

Special needs care

The SOS school in Lilongwe, Malawi has space for over 500 children, including 120 children with special needs who can easily move about in the wheelchair-friendly classrooms. By teaching all children under the same roof, the hope is that students with disabilities will mix more freely with their peers to encourage mutual respect and understanding.

By government appointment

Back in 2008 very few children in Kpalassi, Togo went to school because they were busy working in the fields to boost the family income. Then SOS Children began collaborating with community leaders and local authorities to help revitalise the village and encourage parents to send children to school. Over the coming years, with our guidance, the school was extended and greatly improved.

A major step forward came with government certification, which would guarantee much higher teaching standards. As a result of these moves, by 2011 almost 90% of local children were going to the village school.

From crisis to classrooms

Even before the 2010 earthquake, Haiti’s education was in a dire state, with high fees, no common curricula and poor teaching. Our reconstruction programme has included rebuilding schools and training teachers. As a result, thousands of children are benefiting from a high-quality education, which is helping to rebuild this shattered nation.

MekidemHow lessons change lives

What does it take for a young boy from Ethiopia, who once had no-one to take proper care of him, to make it to Harvard?

For Mekidem it all began when, aged eight, he went to live at the SOS Children’s Village Awassa in Ethiopia. On starting at the local SOS school, he was motivated from the word go, saying:

“Ever since I was little I’ve loved numbers and science.”

After achieving consistently high marks, he went on to study at the SOS International College, Tema in Ghana, a senior school that takes young people from all over Africa. Students graduate with an International Baccalaureate and can go on to study at international universities. After excelling on his course, he won his place in the US at the world’s leading university to study for a Bachelor of Science degree. Mekidem said

“At Harvard I will probably major in aerospace engineering or applied maths. I am so grateful to SOS Children for making my dreams come true.”

Help a child flourish and succeed like Mekidem. Find out how...

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