EDUCATION: THE BEST WAY TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF POVERTY
In two communities in Northern Uganda, ACCI field workers Russell and Jenny Barton are helping ensure Uganda’s most vulnerable children can realise their right to an education.
With a focus on orphaned and vulnerable children (who may live in their family of origin, or in kinship or foster care), their scholarship program covers the costs of any school and examination fees, uniforms, textbooks and school lunches – all things which form barriers to education for impoverished families. This support not only gives children the opportunity to learn, and gain the tools that will help them create a brighter future for themselves; it also helps keep families together, by alleviating the pressure of supporting children through their schooling.
The Barton’s realise, however, that it’s not just being in school that counts but ensuring children can access quality education. That’s why their work also includes capacity training for teachers and schools, as well as assistance with building repairs and renovations. “It’s extremely difficult for children living in poverty to gain access to education, and in most cases the teachers aren't being paid and lack motivation to teach, [and may] have inadequate training,” Russell says. “We come alongside communities and try to empower and strengthen them – strengthening schools is a strategic part of that.” By strengthening local schools – rather than, for example, sending their scholarship students to more developed urban schools – the Barton’s are not only helping create a better learning experience for all students living in these areas; they’re also creating a sustainable response to the problems in Uganda’s education system.