A Case for Children Like Peace
Entry by: Andrew Lovedale
A2S President & Founder
For children who live in struggling communities, their path to a successful life is challenging because poverty deprives them of a unique right: the ability to interact, act like, and simply be a child. You can give a life-changing opportunity to just be a child this summer by donating to send a child in Nigeria to one of our summer camps, which provide programs that enable children to play, learn and grow.
According to the United Nations, there are 10.5 million children in Nigeria who are not enrolled in formal schooling. For those who are lucky enough to attend school, progression to the next grade and retention issues often obstruct their educational journey. In Nigeria, schools struggle to retain children due to economic hardship, child labor, and early marriage, with 30% of students dropping out of primary school and only 54% moving to Junior Secondary Schools.
Peace is a six-year-old child who watched everyday as her peers walked to and from school. The A2S After-School Academy was the only place she received any type of education, until A2S was able to enroll her in formal schooling. Today, Peace remains top of her class and has never come second to anyone! But that’s not the end of the story for her. Peace, and other children like her, would return home from school every day to face the realities of their life – like whether or not there would be food on the table at home. Twenty-three million children of primary school age in Africa attend classes hungry. In addition to providing scholarships, A2S’ holistic approach to programming supports children like Peace by helping fill in these “blanks” – providing support outside of formal education systems. Peace walks to the after-school academy every day where she gets a hot meal, help with homework, and is engaged in an interactive curriculum that provides her with a community that makes learning fun. With a full belly, a caring A2S staff that engages her family and friends, help with school work, and play-based learning in a safe environment, Peace and others like her at our Academy are more likely to remain in school and not be forced to drop out.
Our After-School Academy helps students like Peace remain engaged in school and advancing to the next grade or next level of education, and our presence in the community helps families see the long-term benefits of formal education. In 2017, 93% of our kids at the academy were retained while 73.4% improved class ranking as they moved on to the next grade. 100% of our Senior Secondary kids passed their JAMB (Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board) exams (Equivalent of SAT) and are now studying at different higher institutions across the country. For children who live in struggling communities, a little confidence, comfort, and encouragement goes a long way in unlocking their dreams.
Beyond meals and tuition expenses, there are other daily challenges that often interfere with student’s learning, such as expenses of transportation to school and school supplies, lack of electricity, and juggling other work or care of siblings. In addition to providing scholarships for children to attend formal schooling and to attend the After-School Academy where they spend time constructive after school and are safe, A2S also provides programs that allow these children to be children. To not worry about where their next meal is coming from. To not worry about school supplies. To not have to live on the brink of life each day.
This includes our ever-important summer programs, which allow children to play, interact, grow, and learn. This June, we will be running free empowerment and basketball camps as well as vacation Bible camps. These camps provide an opportunity for these children to do what other kids around the world who attend school are also doing. For those of us who have ever attended summer camps or have children that attend summer camps, we know the impact it has on their lives and how valuable these programs are. These enrichment programs encourage the kids and provide support for them to stay in school and to pursue their dreams. Beyond that, it allows them to not just skip and important stage of their development.
These kids fight every day for their right to attend or to stay in school. They fight every day to have some access to the necessities of life. Will you break their norm and grant one child like Peace in Nigeria the life changing gift of just being a child this summer?
It cost just $30 to send a child to one of our camps. Please join me in sharing the gift of childhood this summer!
1.United Nations (2018) 2.UNICEF (2018) 3.World Food Programme (2018)