by Maureen Kasera
Children are in every sense of the word, the future! – of; family, village, nation, and indeed the continent. Only in the realm of these lovable and innocently naïve little ones, it seems, are the possibilities truly endless. It therefore, falls primarily upon the birth or otherwise legal guardians, the solemn duty of nurturing and steering their children to prosperity.
Nevertheless, children especially in Africa, often shoulder burdens of circumstance or bluntly, the shortcomings and vulnerabilities of their adult caretakers.
Poverty for one, has without doubt cast a dark cloud over the joys of seeing children attend, learn and eventually graduate from schools equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to maneuver an unforgiving world!
Even so, the African child is smart, coupled with a knack for technology and digital literacy. Such dispositions if properly cultivated, would be of enormous benefit not only one’s native country, but by extension, the continent.
To this end, formal education has continually proved to be the most formidable tool.
Consequently, huge investments by native governments and Non-governmental organizations(NGOs) like The Africa in Me, are channeled directly toward the establishment, improvement and maintenance of learning institutions, not forgetting of course, the enrollment of learners.
Undeniably, great are the strides taken to not only see children in school, but ensure they access quality education. Nigeria for instance has legislations deeming primary education free and compulsory. In the same breath, Rwanda boasts of the most children enrolled in primary school in sub-Saharan Africa, a staggering 98%.
Be that as it may, the situation on the ground paints a rather grim picture on the prevalence of education where, in spite of being free and mandatory, as is in Nigeria, over 10.5million children are still out of school according to a United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) report.
A multitude of setbacks yet to be satisfactorily addressed bare blame for the education predicament dominating a number of African countries. Regrettably, nations like Ghana statistically represent the overcrowded classrooms, insufficient reading material and trained teachers to facilitate learning. Worse still, water and sanitation facilities are far from adequate.
It would hence, be a no brainer that the dire situation is mirrored in the general performance of those in such schools.
It is for this, and a host of other reasons that organizations like The Africa in Me are actively seeking resources, both monetary and in kind to assist in changing the narrative.
Mobilizing funds and resources for the benefit of others is indeed noble, more to this though, is the deeper sense of humanity that is arrived at by the modesty accompanying acts of giving.
To mark its first year of operations since inception in 2020, The Africa in Me has endeavored to keep children in school. By scouring the continent and making a real difference in countries like Uganda where according to UNICEF, only one in every 10 children between the ages 3 and 5 is enrolled in pre-education.
Further, by engaging local leaders and advancing the child education agenda, The Africa in Me would be sure to impact the lives of not only the differently abled children yearning for an education, but the societies from which these children hail. As is in Rwanda, where despite her impressive enrollment rate, children with disabilities are often looked down upon with little consequence borne by government institutions denying disabled children access to education.
To achieve this, a Back To School fundraiser would go a long way in keeping Africa’s children in school. Proceeds of the fundraiser would be channeled to the purchase of among other things, reading material which slowly but surely, cements a reading culture among the children. When children learn to read at an early age, the number of children who progress from kindergarten to primary then secondary school is likely to increase, drop-out rates are also likely to fall and children develop a stronger interest to learn while in school.