Education: The end to the cycle of poverty.

Just after college, I journey to Tanzania for an eye opening adventure. I volunteered at an orphanage and a nursery school. Everyday I would walk with a group of children through Kwasadala village. The students were dressed in uniforms, had shaved heads and were anxious for the school day. While I was there I became very interested in the enrollment of boys and girls in school. When I walked to the schoolhouse, I often saw young girls walking to get water, cleaning and taking care of babies. I began wondering about the enrollment gap between primary and secondary school. Education Non Government Organizations are very aware of the growing fall out between students who begin and finish school. Education is so essential for health and career opportunities. In developing countries, NGOS are working to engage students and work with communities to encourage parents to keep students enrolled.

What I observed in the small village Tanzania is happening in developing countries all over the world. “An estimated 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in 2013.”(“Girls’ education and gender equality”, 2013) Girl’s education is imperative to reaching Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations. Education not only provides career opportunity but also helps stop the cycle poverty. “When all children have access to a quality education rooted in human rights and gender equality, it creates a ripple effect of opportunity that influences generations to come.” (Girl’s education and gender equality, 2013) Social and economic demands cause girls to be married early and begin a family earlier. The challenges for girls are stacked against them.

Education Shines Hope for Girls in Kenya’s Largest Slum is a grassroots organization that is combating extreme poverty and gender inequality. Kibera School for Girls now has 300 girls enrolled, PK-12. The school offers a safe haven for girls to be creative, ask questions and get a quality education. The founder of the organization was born in Kibera and understood the importance of education. The founder explains alongside of the lack of educations, girls became the victims of domestic violence and diseases. Grass root organizations have a place in making strides toward equality of education.

The Education Cluster within the UN Humanitarian Reform Agenda provides normalcy and stability for children who were in a disaster and emergency. This organization targets areas, which needs infrastructure or community outreach. This organization aims to be the first responders. Girls are looked at as vulnerable during times of crisis. The Education Cluster has targeted educational needs and gaps for both boys and girls.

In Tanzania, I witnessed poverty as a brutal cycle. The community as a whole must decide that education is a priority. I saw the young girls doing important household jobs. They are vital to the house structure. NGOs and communities are  needed to see a time where girls are expected to attend school and thrive.

(2013). Girls’ education and gender equality. A list from: Basic education and equality. Retrieved from www.unicef.org/education/bege_706040.htp

(2015). Education Shines Hope for Girls in Kenya’s Largest Slum.  United Nations Girls’ Eduction Initiative. Retrieved from www.ungei.com

IASC Education Cluster. An international network for education emergncies. Retrieved from www.ineesite.org

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