Wings of Hope for Africa 'Back to School' Education Program
Thanks to donations and our sponsors, we are providing access to education for children in one of Burundi’s poorest neighbourhoods, Buterere, located in the country’s capital of Bujumbura. This is a community where families struggle to survive and meet the most basic needs, and many children must earn a living as well to support their families. For example, they may be fetching water or selling goods at the market. We began our Back to School program in 2012, and so far have helped over 550 children attend school. Since 2012, an estimated $20,000 has been raised, all from private donations.
Children in Burundi start attending primary school at seven years old. The government pays for primary school fees, but other expenses are the responsibility of parents. School uniforms, pens, shoes and books are costly, and as a result, many children don't go to school. Our annual “Back to School” program provides these supplies, ensuring that vulnerable children receive education.
Secondary school students are also benefiting from Wings of Hope for Africa’s education project. Children aged 12 to 18 can attend secondary school, but at a cost - school fees are charged to families. Wings of Hope pays for these school fees, allowing parents to send their children through this higher level of learning, without the financial burden.
Challenges with Children's Education in Burundi
As one of the world’s poorest countries, Burundi faces severe challenges in providing quality, affordable education to every child. After experiencing a 12-year civil war that ended in 2005, Burundi saw many of its schools destroyed, as well as extreme teacher shortages and a lack of access to educational resources.
Many children are forced to walk long distances to get to the nearest school. In addition to problems around access to education, children often face health issues that prevents them from going to school. The most prevalent health issues are communicable diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. The government has increased funding for free basic education, but challenges remain in terms of quality of education and rising drop-out rates as a result of household hunger. Girls face even bigger issues when they reach puberty. Due to lack of separate washrooms for boys and girls, early marriage and teenage pregnancies, girls tend to drop out more. Many children are entering the primary school system, including hundreds of thousands of children who have been repatriated from Tanzania since 2002, which results in resources being stretched thin.
Child Sponsorship Program in Burundi
Wings of Hope for Africa also sponsors individual children. An annual donation of $250 provides school supplies, basic needs such as food, school uniform, and a health care card, which allows the child to access medical services. Some of our sponsored children are orphans, others may have parents who may be living in impoverished conditions. Sponsors can come to know the child personally through pictures and correspondence. Please visit our child sponsorship page here.
Wings of Hope for Africa firmly believes that education and sponsorship are important tools in breaking the cycle of poverty in Burundi. Anyone who donates, whether through the Back to School campaign or the Sponsor a Child program, will know their donations are being spent wisely to help children in need. Children no longer have to stay at home and work to support their families. It allows them to enjoy their childhood and it empowers them for a brighter future.
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