WE STARTED A KINDERGARTEN
Displaced Children Face Unique Challenges--
Education Should Not Be One
Most of us know about refugees, those who are crossing international borders, but what of those displaced within their own countries? The internally displaced, hidden from the eyes of the world, face the same kinds of dangers and uncertainties as refugees, but too often without the attention that brings international resources. Conservative estimates put the number of refugees at about 25 million, while those suffering within their own country borders number about 40 million.
Displaced children are particularly vulnerable as they may be closer to the violence that displaced them. They are less likely to have documents needed to register for school. Poverty may require work over school. Once out of school, it becomes increasingly difficult to return. A child who is out of school for more than a year is unlikely to return and girls are 2.5 times more likely to drop out of school than boys. Such gender differences in education are striking. In urban areas in Afghanistan, as an example, only 1 percent of internally displaced (IDP) women were found to be literate, compared to 20 percent of IDP men.
Education is the great equalizer. Imagine the impact of educating a generation of displaced children. Our kindergarten is focused on teaching that next generation of displaced children and facilitating their entry into the public schools. Together we can make miracles happen in lives that have known only violence, poverty, and disruption.
When Moms Read...
When women are literate,
the world is a better place.
The last 30 years of reading research confirms a simple truth—regardless of sex, race, nationality, or socioeconomic background—students who read the most, read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest. Conversely, those who don’t read much, cannot get better at it.
Displaced women are at a particular disadvantage in Afghanistan. So, we created a literacy class for displaced moms at our kindergarten for displaced kids. Not only will it benefit their children who are learning to read, but will increase these women's economic capacity.
What does it take to save a life?
Sometimes it is as simple and inexpensive as a bar of soap and good information. Western Afghanistan's uncontrolled border with Iran is the epicenter of the #CORONAVIRUS invasion of Afghanistan. The virus is spreading through the city and stressing an already fragile health system. Consider the concerns we have in the developed world about the large numbers of people in need of hospitalization, ventilators, doctors, nurses, and other medical resources. Then consider a health system already in crisis facing the same challenges.
Five displacement camps surround Herat. In these camps are some of the most vulnerable people in Afghanistan and the world. Far from their homes and without the traditional safety nets of extended family, they have fled violence, natural disasters, war, and other social disruptions. They are living in austere conditions without the benefit of money and resources to combat a virus that can very easily spread through their community. Families living in the displacement camps in this area are some of the most vulnerable.
We know that one of the most effective ways to fortify individuals and communities against a virus is soap and hand washing training. Providing this vulnerable population with soap is one of the best ways to fortify them against the spread of the virus through the camps. For about 70 cents, we gave two bars of soap to each adult and one bar to each child—a total of 19,662 people--in the displacement camps.
The amazing and courageous women at Women Education for Better Tomorrow, our implementation partners, risked their own health to get lifesaving soap and training to our friends in the displacement camps.
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A KINDERGARTEN OF HOPE
What if a kindergarten for kids who had only known poverty, violence, and war is where hope is born. What if, in a faraway corner of the world, kids learned how to be leaders? What if we changed the world, one kindergarten class at a time.