The Problem: School Drop Out & Lack of Education
Imagine, you are a child in Uganda. You are in primary school, but you know that four out of five children in your classroom will not continue past the fifth grade. Maybe your classmates will not pass the exam, which enables you to move on to secondary school. Maybe they can’t afford the exam fees. Maybe they can’t pass because they have missed too much school since they have had to work instead of go to class. Maybe they won’t even take the exam because they have to work. Maybe they will get sick and be unable to continue their education.
School dropout is a huge problem in Uganda, which has detrimental effects for the children and their communities. According to a 2014 UNICEF report, in sub-Saharan Africa, more than 30 percent of primary school students drop out before reaching a final grade (Mbabazi).
Children drop out of school for many reasons. One reason is that families cannot afford school costs including tuition fees, exam fees, uniforms, and supplies, making school an unlikely possibility for the children. Perhaps one child from a family may be able to go to school, but probably not all of the children from a single household will graduate from primary and secondary school. “Lack of scholastic material, lack of food (hunger), lack of teachers, lack of support, poor living conditions, and domestic work are among the reasons why children do not attend school, but that lack of money comes out as the greatest reason why children do not attend school.” (Mbabazi)
Illness may also cause children to drop out of school. Medical care is expensive, especially in Uganda. Family members who become ill will often have to cut their children’s education in order to afford medical care. This causes families to have to choose between health and education. Additionally, children may lose one or both of their parents to AIDs, alcoholism, or another problem. If this happens, students may need to drop out of school to help provide for the rest of their family.
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Our Solution: WE Educate Program
WE International’s WE Educate Program is designed to provide sponsorships for students in primary school and secondary school who need the extra assistance. WE Educate operates in the African country of Uganda in the towns and villages of Musima, Lingira, and Jinja. Sponsorships for primary and secondary school students cost $35 a month.
Your sponsorship will give a student vital tools for a brighter future by providing:
It is important for us at WE International to include food and hygiene coverage in our sponsorships because we know how hunger and hygiene issues can affect a student’s well-being both in and out of school.
There is no minimum or maximum period for sponsoring a child. In your sponsorship relationship, you may send correspondence letters to your child; however, we ask that you refrain from sending other gifts as this could be a stumbling block to children in the community or family who are not sponsored.
WE International will send you a yearly update on how you child is doing academically, and provide you an chance to keep encouraging your child. There may be opportunities to visit your sponsored child. If you are a sponsor and are interested in visiting your child, please contact the Madison office. However, please keep in mind that the privacy and safety of our children is our priority. If, for whatever reason, you wish to stop sponsoring your child, just let us know in writing. We will work to find another donor to take over the costs of your sponsored child’s education.
WE International is a credible, non-profit and non-governmental 501(c)(3) charitable organization with a strong record of providing vital services to the children who need them most. WE International staff and volunteers regularly visit and check on the child you sponsor and send you personal updates as to how he or she is doing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Mbabazi, C., Ochen, E. A., Onyango, E. O., & Moses Lubaale, Y. A. (2014, March). Out of school children study in Uganda [PDF]. UNICEF.
Wydick, B., Rutledge, L. & Chu, J. (2009, April). Does child sponsorship work? Evidence from Uganda using a regression discontinuity design [PDF].
Interested in interning for WE International for our WE Educate Program? Check out our interning program here!