Tag Archives: Education

Why Secondary Education for Girls Reduces Child Marriage, Early Pregnancies

UNESCO just released its report, Sustainable Development: Post 2015 Begins With Education, that takes a look at the critical importance of education on the post-2015 agenda. The core stance in the report portends that without greater access to education poverty eradication will become increasingly difficult to achieve by 2030. The betterment of women’s and girls’ lives across the globe, most specifically in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia depends greatly on their equal access to quality education.

In the poorest countries, 2.9 million girls are married by 15. If girls in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia simply have a secondary education child marriage would decrease by 69%. Secondary education also causes a delay in young girls having their first child. Young girls disproportionately die in childbirth. Education will, in turn, cause a reduction in not only maternal health, but also in newborn deaths. In fact, Brazil saw a a 70 percent reduction in its fertility rate because it became a country priority to improve schools and education.

Educated girls have children later and smaller families overall. They are less likely to die during pregnancy or birth, and their offspring are more likely to survive past the age of five and go on to thrive at school and in life. Women who attended school are better equipped to protect themselves and their children from malnutrition, deadly diseases, trafficking and sexual exploitation. – Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway and Graça Machel, President, Foundation for Community Development & Founder, Graça Machel Trust.


Continue reading Why Secondary Education for Girls Reduces Child Marriage, Early Pregnancies

How You Can Send Children to School in Laos, Guatemala and Ghana

Education, it is often said, is the key to a child’s future. When a child in low and middle-income countries goes to school, their future income increases by 10 percent. Girls who go to school have healthier children when they get married when they matriculate, and educated girls also delay marriage. Additionally, girls who are less educated are more vulnerable to violence. To compete in a growing, global economy, then, education is becoming increasingly more important to break perpetual cycles of financial and health poverty.

Pencils of Promise (PoP), the for-purpose organization founded by Adam Braun in 2008, launched its annual Back to School campaign in August that aims to send 1600 children to school in Laos, Guatemala, and Ghana. So far Pencils of Promise has raised a little under 50 percent of its overall goal. The campaign runs until October 3.

Time and again the main reason children drop out of school is because of exorbitant school fees that their parents cannot afford. And so children become endlessly trapped in a life that dictates that they grow up without the necessary tools to be more productive citizens for their country, community, and family. In short, an education means the difference between living in poverty and eventually escaping it.

Pencils of Promise knows this well. A $250 donation can send a child to school for one year. Your donation includes uniforms, backpacks, supplies, transportation, and dormitory fees.

What is Pencils of Promise

Pencils of Promise is an organization that recognizes the global impact of sending children to school and allowing them the opportunity to receive a life-saving, potentially poverty eradicating gift of an education. Starting by Adam Braun in 2008, Pencils of Promise puts 100% of all donated dollars to educating children around the world.

The Promise of a PencilBraun recently wrote The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change. This book is perfect for high schoolers, college students, and even college graduates as tangible evidence that with gumption and a desire to do good anyone can change the lives of people in need; especially children who have so little that a single pencil is a true gift.

In his book Braun honestly recounts the early days of creating Pencils of Promise. It is refreshing to read that his NGO wasn’t served to him on a silver platter from people who liked his idea and created everything for him. That’s far from the truth. Through hard work and thinking outside of the box, Braun was able to turn a mere $25 investment into more than 200 schools that have now been built, employs and trains local teachers, and educates children. To be sure, Braun stumbled along the way as he created Pop and is candid about that in his book. The background he gives shows even more why any donation to Pencils of Promise has the potential to alter the trajectory of a child’s life forever and that PoP will remain honest stewards of all donated funds.

Donate to Pencils of Promise and send a child to school.


Teaching in the Netherlands and Learning Outcomes #TeacherTuesday

This interview was conducted by and is courtesy of UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report team. 

We are happy to join UNESCO’s #TeacherTuesday campaign – a ten week journey around the world to share a glimpse of teaching from the voices of teachers themselves. The sixth honored teacher is Cees, a teacher from the Netherlands. This is his story.

I’m working at a secondary school called Spinozalyceum Amsterdam for 12-18 year olds. It’s a general high school in the Netherlands.

There are 1100 students in our school and I have several classes with an average of 26 students. I’m a history teacher. It’s my sixth year and my second school. I was at a previous school for two years.

Photo_CeesI became a teacher because I was working in a museum in Amsterdam. It is a photographic museum and was asked to set up the educational part of the museum and that brought me to some teachers who were giving art lessons to children and that was really interesting and gave me the idea that this would be exciting and challenging work – you’re really free to design your own lessons.

Teaching was not seen as a good profession but right now there’s a lot of attention in politics to say let’s improve the level and appreciation for it. If I compare myself as an academic teacher who studied for five years with another master after that, then the starting level of pay is quite low, but after about ten years then it becomes more acceptable, but it takes a long time to get on a certain level on which you are comparable to other salaries, and people who have marketing jobs, for example, earn a lot better.

There are some school subjects in which a lot of people will try to get jobs as teachers but there are also real shortages in certain subjects. Economy teachers and German teachers and certain other language teachers are hard to find. For history there are a lot teachers.

I find it difficult to answer why the Netherlands are doing so well because what do grades mean!? To which countries do you compare?

We have a professional education for teacher, if you want to teach in the Netherlands you need to get your papers. Those teacher educations are loose, I guess, so it doesn’t mean that everyone who’s teaching has the right papers because of the shortages in the offer of teachers, you get a certain license but it’s always, well, the school need to show to the inspection that they have good quality. So you have to do your best to get certified teachers as a school.

We have first grade and second grade teachers in Holland. First grade need academic qualification at first. That means I was studying history for five years. After that I am a historian. I’m not a teacher. Becoming a teacher you then need to do a full time year of study and then you learn a bit the basics of teaching history. Right now you have a master in history and then you need a teaching history master. That’s first grade.

If you want to be second grade teacher that means you can’t teach the higher grades. We have pupils who are 12-13-14 years, but those who are 15-16-16, you can only teach the younger kids, so not of the preparing final exam class. You can always become a first grade teacher by doing extra lessons, but you must already have a lot of interpersonal and pedagogical competence.

If you studied something like law at university it means it’s hard to become a teacher because there are very few schools giving law. If you studied French it’s very easy as most schools offer French. It’s then very easy to do one year of extra study because you already have all the knowledge of French, but if you studied marketing, then it’s more difficult because there are not really courses in marketing at schools, so you have to have the luck to already have done the kind of course that’s given at school.

We have a certain amount of teaching hours and all the coming tasks from that – preparing and the after work – and from 5-10% of your time is reserved for professional development every year – courses and training. 10% is a big amount. It’s much time.

Everyone has to write a professional development plan and in that plan you have your growing points – your developing points – and we do this every year after we speak to our boss who does our analysis. You then you do the courses you need. We don’t have a huge budget, we have 500 euros a year, which isn’t much, but we do the courses in-house with, for example, ten teachers at a time so you get a discount. We have also a lot of training in how to go along with problem kids – pedagogical side – and those trainings are really moving because they tell a lot about your own personal difficulties. That’s another that passes on the educational system in Holland. Lots of 360° reflections on yourself in Holland. Thinking about what does this problem I have say about me.

One other reason for why we are able to improve ourselves as teachers is the pupil enquiry lists in which pupils give their opinion about you and your lessons. It’s a very confronting way and big motivation to improve yourself. You want satisfied pupils! Of course these test are input for the evaluation with your boss about functioning properly.

About 70% of the courses we teach is compulsory, but 30% we can chose our different subjects which are interesting. Not bad that it’s structured, because it’s about what we find particularly important that we teach our students.

National exams are always in a certain dialogue. For our history teachers we have an organization of history teachers who are always working with policy makers so there is a way to influence curriculum. But that’s a problem with policy – we are already experiencing some difficulties and know it won’t change in five years because we know policy is in the long term. That’s a bit frustrating but that’s always the thing. We are well organized in Holland, though, at least with our history teachers – that’s what I can attest. I think it must be the same with other courses.

We have our school exam and we have our final national exam. If the students have too big a difference between the grades in those two exams then you have to explain something. A lot of work is preparing for the national exam, but you must also do well in the school exam because otherwise you’re grading your students too low or too high.

I am teaching at a school where it is very student focused. Students are the masters of their own learning process. You teach them how to cooperate, how to be self-supporting, and to make their own decisions how to learn things.

In our professional courses, we create those lessons with lesson forms. We know how to deal with all the learning styles – the doers, the thinkers, the dreamers – we have training in how to manage the different levels in our class – it’s called teaching on demand. It means we have different cognitive intelligence in our classroom. Simply said, we have smarter and less smarter pupils on our class.

You design choice in your lesson programs for the disadvantaged students. So the more you focus on the pupil with your learning activities, the more different choices they have. If they have a choice in which to start first, and what to learn later, and what they have to work on themselves, and what is a common activity, it motivates them to learn.

In my school we have a different level that’s really preparing on the academical side so about half prepare for university, many prepare for the other higher schools, some also prepare for apprenticeships – more on the practical side.

When they come to our school in the first grade, they are already tested and some, on the basis of their results, are going directly to the higher schools, but the ones who are not certain yet they have a bridge class, they call it, where they decide if they go to the higher school or the practical side. An in-between class. 30% to go university, 50% go to the other higher schools and 20% go into some trade or practical apprenticeships.

My typical day starts as I arrive at school at 7.50am and the lessons start at 8.30am. In the first hour, pupils are a bit quiet because you need to wake them up still. Most of the time the first two hours are really nice to teach because they’re still rested and attentive to your lessons. The more the day is over, the more knowledge they have and less attention. At my school the students are really social, really paying attention to each other. We do a lot of group activities.

Every day in the middle hour they have one hour to decide what to do – it’s called the Delton hour – a free hour when they put themselves on the list to say what courses they want to do – maths, French, German or history, and then they work for themselves, but they can ask us for extra help. We can also invite certain pupils who need extra attention. Then we have the big power break when the kids eat their sandwiches – typically Dutch we don’t have the warm lunch! – Holland is a typical sandwich culture and I don’t mean the nice sandwich with egg and butter, it’s more likely bread with a slice of cheese! Then the last two hours are difficult to get their attention. It means we have to have more creative classes but it’s not always easy to get their attention.

We finish on average at 3pm or 4pm.

The homework is a bit less – especially if they really work in that middle hour, but it’s up to them if they work during that time or not. They choose themselves if they’re going to be productive in that time or not. It’s a bit like giving them responsibility to discover at the end whether they’ve spent that time effectively. That hour doesn’t happen in every school. It gives them more freedom to grow more responsible. We also work with deadlines. Some don’t. But we do. It’s not typically Dutch, this, but we do have more of this because we have more liberal parents who want their children to be in more liberal schools. But typically classical schools see the teachers speak more and the pupils are more quiet.

Our pupils are more ready for the academical studies because, with all the freedom and responsibility they have, they know better how to use it than the pupils who have strict classical lessons.

I was surprised because we also have German, British and American schools and I though America was really ahead in integrating ICT.

We have the label of being a school for immigrants. We have a really nice mix of those pupils who have disadvantages and those who have the advantages of really educated parents and it’s positive for both. In our school we have a certain lottery and we’re a popular school and have more pupils who want to be in our school than we can offer. And that’s equal for everyone. So we’re not an elite school. We’re not selecting only those with the high grades. In all Dutch schools we have a good mix of pupils who need more attention, but it’s not too much of a problem ever. We have special courses for Islamic cultures and those from other background in our training to understand about them. We aim at teaching to all levels in our class. We have lots of tools for that. If you have problems then you can always get training.

During the training we have supervision and mentors and I had two coaches – one for supervision on the psychological reflection and one for more general studies. Now when you’re new at the school you have a special coach. When you’re not new anymore, you don’t have a coach, but in every school you find five teachers who are equal and you share your experiences – what you can’t cope with and what techniques you use. You can reflect on that. It’s really helpful for things you can’t cope with. It’s done by our school. We got special training to lead such conversations. And now we do that as some sort of oral support. For example I had a personal clash with a pupil and I didn’t know what to do because there was tension that wasn’t getting better. I talked to the pupils’ parents and that didn’t help, so then I talked to the support group. It’s all classified and safe of course.

I am also a teacher coach, so I observe lessons of my new teachers in the school. The best piece of advice I could give to a new teacher is to be themselves. Everyone is different. Pupils know if the teacher is behaving like he isn’t in real life. But on the other hand, be very consistent.

I guess that if we cooperate more between the teachers nationally – maybe if the ones who are writing the school books are aiming more on how we can create more active lessons that will help a lot more. When you find a really different lesson plan on the internet you wish you could find more. It needs to be written out, you can’t tell someone in one minute, how and why you can do a lesson. But the current method doesn’t offer that. We need more learning activities and programs. Teachpitch.com is a good example of a tool we use to professionalize ourselves by sharing knowledge with other teachers in the world by the internet.

My hopes for the future of teaching in my country? I am really hopeful about technology helping us to improve the organization that is needed to implement student-centered learning. Last Friday we had a mind-blowing presentation of the Dutch educational entrepreneur Bob Hofman that introduced Peerscholar (invented and used by the University of Toronto) to Europe. This computer program is a very good example of how teachers will be able to help students really reflect on each other’s work, and which will improve their responsibility to their own learning process. Less focus on grades and more on the content and the reflection of how they are learning.

Read more about the Education for All Global Monitoring Report.

The Importance of Inclusive Education for Indigenous Children #TeacherTuesday

This interview was conducted by and is courtesy of UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report team.

We are happy to join UNESCO’s #TeacherTuesday campaign – a ten week journey around the world to get a glimpse of teaching from the voices of teachers themselves. The second honored teacher is Natelee, a teacher on the Bay Islands, Honduras. This is her story.

You can also meet Natelee today during a tweet chat with UNESCO between 4- 5 PM GMT. Follow #TeacherTuesday to join the conversation.

I still remember my first experience as a young teacher. I was 19 when I started teaching at a preschool. I was working in a bilingual private school and I was amazed by the learning pace and products of the students. I believe that everything hinges on the presence of intelligent, passionate, caring and sensitive
teachers working day to day in country’s classrooms. We also have to find way to motivate and appreciate them. As a young teacher I realized early that I had to keep upgrading myself, which is why I attended self-development classes. I am hyperactive!

During my third year of teaching, I realized that one of students was an autistic child. I wanted to ensure that I catered to his needs, so I had to get training to try my best to make my class dynamic. Sometimes we have limited resources, however that did not detour me from changing the décor in my class every month. I also invited speakers to come speak to my class. I brought in people (police, firefighters and dive masters) as a way to complement the curriculum. As the years went by, so did my need to do more, so I got myself certified as a teaching instructor and did a lot of traveling to help me better understand why intercultural education is important in a multicultural context. Building a solid relationship with parents was a way for me to motivate them about getting more involved with their kids learning. By integrating all those elements into my teaching style, I feel like I’ve become a better teacher. The kids that I taught in 1st grade are now in the 9th grade, and it’s so nice when I see them, I can say I did something!

My teaching style is based on the teachers I had in school because they saw I was hyperactive so instead of bashing me, they helped find ways to respond to me and to integrate it into their teaching. It was important to have teachers who understood and saw my potential. Those teachers helped shape the way I teach and learn. For that I am thankful. And most importantly my mother and grandmother are teachers, as was my father. Teaching is in the family!

In Honduras there are 9 indigenous groups (Miskitu, Tawakha, Lenca, Tolupan, Maya-Chorti, Garifuna, Nahao, Pech, Negro de Habla Ingles) and 7 languages. Two groups have lost their language and became fragmented. One of those languages (lenca) is almost extinct, there is now a process of revitalization to try and keep that language alive.

As a result of the historic and cultural background in the Bay Islands, English is the main language of instruction. On mainland Honduras, Spanish is the main language of instruction.

The English speakers on the Bay islands are descended from Grand Cayman and Jamaica and we speak English. The others speak Spanish or Garifuna language. The Garifuna people have lived in Honduras for the past 216 years and have become very important for the cultural framework. They live in the Northeastern sector of the island and we are trying to revitalize their language. When people don’t know how to read or write, that’s how a language becomes extinct.

Some of the children who are impoverished are black minority people. Their first language is English and their second language is Spanish. There are attempts to help them, this is done by developing volunteer programmes where people send or donate materials, books, pencils, colours, rulers, backpacks, uniforms.

Language definitely has an impact on how children learn and how they perceive themselves as being part of the teaching-learning process. As a young child growing up in the Bay Islands, there were many times in school when we were not allowed to speak English. (Bay Islanders are English speakers living in a Spanish country). To not be taught in your mother tongue, leaves a gap, and makes you feel that your language is not important. Over the years you tend to develop certain humps.

The first thing teachers need to do if teaching in a multilingual classroom is to keep an open mind. They need to be stay focused and motivated and not to let the system itself get the best of them. They need to build a strong relationship, integrating parents, the community, teachers in the school community and the students. They must strive to use a learner-centered approach, which places the child at the centre of the process. If we find ourselves in a multilingual classroom, it is vital that we bear in mind that our approach must be multicultural, multilingual and needs multi models to reach all students. We must teach the majority language speakers to speak the minority language and the minority language to speak the majority language, which builds on the principles of inclusion.

In classes with children who speak different languages, I tend to use a lot of visual cues. I divide the class into groups, those who don’t speak the majority language, those who are beginners, and those who are advanced.

Children need their early education to be in their mother tongue but then should be exposed to other languages at grade 3,4,5. When they’re taught in their mother tongue, they can better understand the context and the world, in turn developing a better understanding of the culture around them, and of what’s happening in their surroundings. I also think that they should be exposed to other languages, which aids in developing global learners. Our educational system must strive to enable us not disable us. It should help ground students in an ever-changing and globalized world.

So by teaching students other languages, we open the gateway for them to interact with others, to become global leaders and to embrace diversity. Just because you speak a different language, doesn’t mean you’re less important than others etc… It also promotes a cultural sensitivity.

Over the years there have been a number of dropouts in our system, this in part is due to fact that students feel lost in the classrooms. Sometimes it’s because their learning style is not catered to, and others it’s because the language at school is not their first language.

The General Direction for Intercultural Multilingual Education (DIGEIM) is to ensure that indigenous and afrodescendent people are a part of the agenda; lobbying with representatives of the various ethnic groups to integrate the cultural elements into the curricular framework. Inclusion is at the forefront of education, and we’re not excluding their cultural content from entering into the curriculum.

The majority of materials are in Spanish, however part of my work at the DIGEIM is development; create allies to lobby for resources, to be printed. As well as ensure that teachers being allocated to communities where children who speak minority languages, have been trained adequately.

Children who spoke the minority languages were not getting the best teachers ten years ago. But there have been training programmes for intercultural bilingual teachers since 2003 in Honduras, and those teachers are now certified to teach with a focus on diversity. The DIGEIM provides training once or twice a
year, to get feedback, to see that assessments and evaluations are being done, and that they’re culturally focused.

There are cultural differences that we need to be incorporate in our teaching as well. The arts and crafts are different, the astronomy and traditions, and there are religious and spiritual differences. Some chant, some are more evangelistic, some rain dances, or drum, and appreciate connections with the earth and the
ground. Those are big differences and need to be appreciated. We integrate that into the arts and crafts classes, and into maths and science and music.

Last year at the Lunsford Johnson School, the teachers worked with the students to make instruments, using coconuts, wood and boxes. By using the elements around them, they become aware of their variety of resources around them, as well as the creative value. Some of them use coconut shells as a drum. Some used an empty metal can and attached a piece of cloth and bound it with tape, and used a mix of water and flour around the edges. Very fun and very culturally focused. Sometimes you don’t have money to buy expensive stuff, but teachers are taught to use all elements. It’s amazing what you can do when you teach outside the box, and how that can affect big changes.

In maths instead of using counters, we used to invite them to use almond seeds, rocks, or shells and leaves of the coconut palm.

In science kids are exposed to the natural environment. We help them understand the coral, and how do their part to educate others about pollution. We have had a problem recently with lionfish. We want them to consume our lionfish so they don’t kill other fish on the coral. They learn about how sand comes about. Learning about fishing and consumption. And we focus on recycling. We are happy to have the RMP collaborating with us.

I traveled to Chile to specialize in indigenous law and I took out a certification in special education. Those trainings helped me to understand the learning styles; by identifying my own style, and why different methods are important. I also did a lot of training on natural resources which helped me integrate those concepts into my teaching. I learnt how to teach ESL or EFL students.

In Honduras, regular training courses prepare teachers to teach only in Spanish. If you want to specialize in other subjects, you go to university level. In the govt. programme there are sub-programmes catering to the development of minority languages. But not every teacher learns that. The majority do not have training
or skills to teach in multilingual classrooms.

The Ministry of Education has declared that 2014 is the ‘Year of inclusion’ ‘el Año de la inclusion’. In our country they’ve realized the need to prepare every teacher to create an inclusive classroom, embracing learning styles and cultural baggage of the children they will come in contact with. Whether it’s due to economy or a result of the internal migratory movement- people move around. There’s not just one particular group of students in one school, they’re all interacting and you have to be sensitive to their needs.

There are some adults who went to the public school system and now they can’t read Spanish well due to the system that was used in the public schools. There are many cases of that. The elderly English speakers also most of them do not speak Spanish.

Finally, it’s essential that to teach students in the language of their thoughts. Some children won’t be able to read or write because they’ve been taught in a language they don’t understand. They’ve been pushed beyond the limit, and they simply don’t understand. However if we teach from the heart with sensitivity
and a focus on diversity, we will serve as change agents whose sole goal is that their students become lifetime learners, proud of their cultural identity and respectful of others.

Every Tuesday we will feature a new teacher. Be sure to follow our TeacherTuesday tag for more teacher profiles and interviews.

Celebrating Teachers Around the World With UNESCO #TeacherTuesday

For ten weeks starting on February 25 we are happy to join UNESCO’s #TeacherTuesday campaign. Leading global education voices will shine the light on inspirational teachers around the world along with UNESCO. The first honored teacher will be Esnart, a teacher from Malawi.

UNESCO has created an entire map of the honored teachers (below) and the dates on which they will be featured on our blogs and web sites. You can follow the entire conversation at #TeacherTuesday. Also, follow UNESCO on Twitter at @EFAReport which is its handle for its Global Monitoring Report.

Throughout the 10 weeks many of the teachers will be joining the education community for a Twitter chat. The first chat will be with Esnart on Tuesday, February 25 at 12 PM GMT. Follow @EFAReport to join the conversation as well as #TeacherTuesday.

World Map

We are proud to join these global voices to amplifiy inspirational teachers who oftentimes have to teach with limited resources and oversized classrooms.


Featured Infographic of the Week: Children Still Battling to Go to School

According to the United Nations, enrollment in primary education in developing regions reached 90 per cent in 2010, up from 82 per cent in 1999. Even with the great improvements in universal primary education there are still 57 million children around the world who do not go to school. This infographic from UNESCO shows how conflicts in countries affect children’s education.

You can help send a child to school through Opportunity International with $1 a day. Learn more.

Educational Infrographic

Infographic from UNESCO.
Photo from Opportunity International.

The Rising Educational Obstacles for sub-Saharan Children

Invest in One ChildWhen children who live in poor countries think about being educated there are many hurdles they face first before stepping foot in the classroom from the sheer proximity to a school to school fees to the cost of a uniform. It adds up quickly and means that many children remain uneducated in developing countries because of their family’s lack of financial resources. Everyone has a basic right to education, but that basic right oftentimes goes unfulfilled. There is no doubt about it: education transforms lives. This is true around the world, but in countries where the only means of rising out of poverty is through education the stakes are particularly high.

Photo 13

The Education for All global initiative that was first created in 1990 says that every child has a right to free primary school. There has been progress over the past decade. In sub-Saharan African children in school rose from 59 percent to 77 percent, but there are still millions more children who are not enrolled in school at all despite increased global enrollment. For example, Nigeria has the worst percentage of children who are not in school. According to UNESCO that number has risen from 7.4 million Nigerian children that are not in school to 10. 5 million since 1999.

Opportunity International, an organization that provides microfinance loans to help people rise out of poverty in developing nations, has recognized that there is a fundamental problem with access to education for children in sub-Saharan Africa where parents typically have to pay 30% of their children’s school fees. Their program,  Invest in One Child, asks donors to help send a child to school for less than $1 a day. Working in Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, and Rwanda, Opportunity International provides access to loans for parents who desperately need money to pay for their children’s school fees. An individual family can borrow up to $240 per child per year.

Through Invest in One Child you can invest in one child going to school for one year. Here’s how the donation flow works:

To learn more and to invest in a child’s education in sub-Saharan Africa visit opportunity.org/give/project/child.

Photos courtesy of Opportunity International

A Creative Way to Donate Much-Needed School Supplies

Rossetti_Ladies_for_web_largeEven though it’s summer vacation for most kids across the country the new school season will roll around  before we know it. That means millions of schoolchildren will attend their first day of school without the school supplies they need to excel. One Chicago-based company has devised a creative way to change that scenario for schoolkids in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland.

3CWear, a for profit company, partners with fine artists around the world to create designs specifically for their tees. For every tee you buy a school supplies kit is gifted to a child in need. 3CWear’s social enterprise mission is two-fold: promote talented artists and do good. Currently 3CWear’s catalog of tees ranges in price from $15 (sale price) to $24, a reasonable cost for a full priced t-shirt. Most of the collections are highlighted by a video feature of the artist who created and donated the design to 3CWear. Through August 12, 2013 limited edition tees by Italian artist Brigitta Rosetti will be on sale at www.3cwear.com.

Launched by a husband and wife team 3CWear is poised to be a leader in the buy one, give one industry due to its emphasis on the arts, design, fashion, and giving back.

“Last year my husband and I began an online based clothing store with a social commitment of giving school supplies to children in need in the United States,” said A Yanina Gomez, CEO of 3CWear and mother of two, via email. “We partner with established artists who donate a design exclusively for 3cWear. These designs are available for a limited time. For every top we sell, we (3c + customer) give a school supply kit to a local child in need. We REALLY care about the arts and education in our nation and want to ensure that our children go to school fully prepared to be actively engaged in the learning experience.”

If you would like to buy a tee and gift a child with much-needed school supplies you can use promo code “giving”. Visit 3CWear.com to shop for a good cause.

The Importance of Education for Girls

Much of yesterday’s Women Deliver 2013 conversation centered around education for girls. Without at least a primary education girls in poor and middle income countries cannot properly contribute to their country’s economy nor to their household.

Girls who are fortunate to prolong marriage are able to attend school longer than if they are married away by their family. Being married off instead of staying in school poses a huge challenge because once girls are married off it becomes increasingly difficult for them to become educated. And, girls face the often insurmountable challenge of having children even though they are not properly equipped to deliver a baby causing many to die during childbirth. In fact, the number one cause of death for girls between the ages of 15 – 19 is childbirth says the World Health Organization.

Pratham School
A Pratham school in east Delhi where girls and boys attend an English class. Photo: Jennifer James

According to UNESCO 66 million girls are out of school globally. Just last week I was in Delhi and time and time again we heard that while boys are often allowed to go to school and encouraged to do so (unless they are street children) girls are often discouraged from going to school and instead are needed for domestic duties or to help their families scratch out a living in the family business whether that is selling vegetables on the side of the road or being hired out as domestic help. Girls as young at 14 can work as domestics in India.

When girls are not educated everyone suffers. Countries suffer from an inadequate workforce. It also leads to a continuum of poverty for many families where girls grow into women who are illiterate with little to no skills. A girl’s education provides a 20% increase in income for them over their lifetime per the World Bank. Additionally, educated mothers are twice as likely to send their children to school.

Protsahan School
The Protsahan school of the arts for at-risk girls who live in the slums and red light areas of Delhi. Photo: Jennifer James

When we were in India last week we saw many girls in the schools we visited. It is my hope that those girls are able to continue their education and graduate. Education is one of the silver bullets for a better future for them.

Help Send Books to Ethiopian Schoolchildren

Children everywhere deserve an exceptional education. In fact, it it their right. In Ethiopia, there is a 10-20% increase of school-age children meaning there is a greater need for educational materials.

Bruktawit Tigabu, the award-winning entrepreneur and co-founder of Tsehai Loves Learning, is bringing storybooks to thousands of children in Ethiopia and needs your help. Higher Circle has launched their Opening Books to Open Doors campaign where they are raising $10,000 to provide books for 4,000 Ethiopian schoolchildren.

$10 will provide four books for children in need. Donate now.

Below Bruktawit Tigabu talks about the importance of reading for Ethiopian children.


Photo: Jennifer James
Inforgraphic: UNESCO