January 24th is International Day of Education 2023 and this year’s theme is “Invest in people, prioritise education.”
The right to education is a human right and the fundamental basis for an individual’s ability to learn and empower themselves. Education has the power to transform lives and offer a pathway out of poverty.
While some may take education for granted, there are currently 244 million children out of school across the world. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where the literacy rate is 65%, it’s far more challenging to attend school. Less than 40% of girls here complete lower secondary school.
Many of the people we work with face hardships and must prioritise food, water and survival over education. At Self Help Africa, we’re not just supporting hundreds of thousands of farming families to earn more money – we’re enabling them to earn more, so that parents can send their children to school.
For Stephen Linga, from Northern Zambia, education is not something that he takes for granted. He spends three hours every day walking to and from school. “The thing that would make me most upset is if school was taken away from me. I have nothing more valuable than being able to go to school” he says.
In the past, Stephen worried that his parents would not be able to afford his school fees but thing have changed for the better. “Today, we are producing more on the farm so i’m optimistic that i’ll get to finish my education.”
At different times he has thought about becoming a priest, at others, he has wanted to join the army. Whatever the future holds, it’s now looking much brighter for Stephen.
Long term investment in schools and rural workers is key to reducing poverty.