“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela
A good education provides children with the skills to rebuild lives and prepare for a successful future. At TCAF, we believe education is the key to unlocking Northern Uganda’s potential. That’s why we focus on education and the basic requirements needed to help a child attend school.
In addition to financial support, TCAF — through our alliance with the Comboni Samaritans of Gulu — provides children with medical, emotional, and developmental support until they complete secondary school. CSG’s field representatives talk with the child’s teachers and parents to ensure they know how to support the child’s academic performance. Together, we are able to provide children with the essentials needed to maximize their educational experience.
An Education Crisis in Uganda
In addition to the other problems that plague the region, there is also an education crisis in Northern Uganda. Thousands of children are being deprived of the education they need in order to contribute to the rebuilding of their homeland. There are not enough schools — most were destroyed or severely damaged during the war. There is a shortage of qualified teachers. The quality of education is substandard. The classrooms are overcrowded, often with more than 100 students for each teacher. And that’s not all.
Children Must Pay to Go to School
Despite promises of free primary education (as required by international human rights treaties), most Ugandan schools charge fees for children to attend. The fees range from 30 cents a day — for the least desirable schools where the quality of education is low — to over $3.00 a day — for the preferable residential schools that provide in-depth learning experiences. In addition, the children are responsible for their own books, uniforms, and meals.
For most of the population in Northern Uganda, this is an insurmountable obstacle; the average income for households is approximately $1.25 per day (as reported in a survey taken in 2010). This means that many children simply cannot afford to attend school, thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty in the region.
“Education is more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. It is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and its future and is critical to reducing poverty and inequality… The impact of investment in education is profound: education results in raising income, improving health, promoting gender equality, mitigating climate change, and reducing poverty.” – The Global Partnership for Education