A 50% better chance of survival...
27 million children globally don't attend school due to war and conflict. We have witnessed first hand the impact of this amongst displaced families on the Uganda and South Sudan border and within the refugee settlements (50% of children in refugee settlements globally aren't enrolled in a school). Many children still can't access education and others meet in woefully inadequate settings, sometimes under trees on the dirt, with no classrooms, chairs or desks, in 'schools' with desperately poor sanitation.
One such place is in Mijale, a Ugandan town right on the border of South Sudan, a country with some of the worst education indicators in the world. HHA have been working in Mijale for several years providing emergency food aid and agriculture training to tackle the significant food insecurity and providing wheelchairs and disability support for the most vulnerable. Now, thanks to some incredible support from a number of Trusts & Foundations, we've received funding to build and equip 3 new classrooms at a local school hosting many refugees and tragically many orphans. We're also going to be able to provide the school with solar power and clean water. Photo below, building work well underway...
This project will ensure every child at this school can meet safely within a classroom in the dignified way they deserve. This is so important for a group of children still dealing with extreme trauma.
One HHA volunteer (Emma, pictured above) who visited the area last year said,
'I overheard 2 boys proclaim, whilst waving a long stick at a group of children, “you cannot cross my border!” A sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach began to emerge knowing the pain they'd faced crossing borders…these children have seen situations that are too unbearable to dwell on. Whilst we're in the school, adult refugees look across the landscape towards South Sudan just kilometres away. Whilst kids sing and dance with us, the sound of shelling and gun fire can be heard across the border as a new wave of fighting threatens a group of IDP camps HHA has been trying to help.'
Whilst health and disability care are the two main strands of HHAs work, this is not the first time we have responded in an emergency setting to an education project. In disaster situations, again and again we see parents crying out for their children. Whilst they have lost their homes and communities, they are desperate their children don't loose their futures. As just one example of the importance of education, a baby born to an educated mother has a 50% better chance of survival. It's one of the many reasons why we've been delighted to see the new building work start in the last few weeks. By the end of October 2019, these children (many refugees) will have a safe environment to process their past and an inspiring environment to transform their future.
Picture here of students joining together to help the builders construct their new classrooms.
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WATCH THIS VLOG FROM OUR CEO IN 2018 ABOUT EDUCATION: