“One of the most important things we receive at an early age which sets us up for a successful future is education.” Chris Oyakhilome
Education is so imperative in helping us to build and establish a strong foundation for our world. Often times, people take advantage of what they get for free, not realizing that this basic need is not something that everyone has access to. In an ever growing and expanding world it is clear to see just how important education is to us, our societies and our economies as a whole. Education is that building block that helps to build a sustainable society. Today’s child is tomorrow’s future, so it is important that we usher them into success at very young ages. By giving indigent children access to education and helping them learn and build skills, we are molding them to become profitable members of society. Which will, in turn, help us to build, maintain and sustain vibrant and economically stable communities, safe for future generations to live in. This is the ethos of The Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI).
The shock of the COVID-19 crisis on education has been unprecedented. Most governments around the world have temporarily closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. These nationwide closures are impacting over 60% of the world’s student population. It has disproportionately affected the poorer and most vulnerable. There remains a risk of a downward spiral, in a negative feedback loop of learning loss and exclusion. Yet every negative spiral of aggravating socio-economic circumstances suggests its reverse image of a positive spiral, one which would lead to the future of education we want: one of inclusive change in education delivery, facilitation of the continuity of education for all through remote learning, unleashing the potential of individuals, and of collective fulfillment, in all areas of life, through education investment. We need to ensure that not only will the children and youth regain their promised future, but all education stakeholders find their role in making it happen.
Education is not only a fundamental human right. It is an enabling right with direct impact on the realization of all other human rights. When education systems collapse, peace, prosperous and productive societies cannot be sustained. The COVID-19 crisis and the unparalleled education disruption is far from over. As many as 100 countries have yet to announce a date for schools to reopen and across the world, governments, unions, parents and children are grappling with when and how to approach the next phase. These decisions carry enormous social and economic implications and will have lasting effects on educators, on children and youth, on their parents – especially women – and indeed on societies as a whole.
In the most fragile education systems, this interruption of the school year will have a disproportionately negative impact on the most vulnerable pupils, those for whom the conditions for ensuring continuity of learning at home are limited. Their presence at home can also complicate the economic situation of parents, who must find solutions to provide care or compensate for the loss of school meals. There is growing concern that if these learners are not properly supported, they may never return to school. The disruptions caused by COVID-19 to everyday life meant that as many as 40 million children worldwide have missed out on early childhood education in their critical pre-school year. This is likely to compromise their longer-term healthy development, especially those children from poor and disadvantaged families.
An estimated 40 per cent of the poorest countries failed to support learners at risk during the COVID-19 crisis, and past experiences show that both education and gender inequalities tend to be neglected in responses to disease outbreaks. Domestic chores, especially for girls, and the work required to run households or farms, can also prevent children from getting sufficient learning time. As with previous pandemics, COVID-19 has shown that education institution closures represent an increased risk for women and girls, as they are more vulnerable to multiple types of abuse, such as domestic violence, transactional sex, and early and forced marriages. A recent study highlights that women are bearing the greater share of additional time spent on childcare and household tasks. Coupled with the present economic disruption, this will likely contribute to higher earning gaps, thus widening gender inequality.
The ripple effects go beyond education, the school closures have also affected the ability of many parents to work. A significant share of working parents rely on childcare and schools. Schooling provides essential learning and when schools close, children and youth are deprived opportunities for growth and development. The disadvantages are disproportionate for under-privileged learners who tend to have fewer educational opportunities beyond school. When schools close, parents are often asked to facilitate the learning of children at home and can struggle to perform this task. This is especially true for parents with limited education and resources. Schools are also hubs of social activity and human interaction. When schools are closed, many children and youth miss out of on social contact that is essential to learning and development.
Nutrition plays a critical role in cognitive development and academic performance for children. Many children worldwide rely on free or discounted meals at schools. When schools close, nutrition is especially compromised for children in schools where food is provided.
The InnerCity Mission for Children (ICM) Education in Emergency initiative provides continuous learning for vulnerable children who are at risk of falling far behind in their learning or may never return to school due to the effect of the COVID-19 crisis. Through this initiative, the InnerCity Mission, under the auspices of The Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI) and network of partners and volunteers would be reaching out to over 100 000 children in needy communities all around the world.
Education is a basic human right, it has the potential to enable children to gain the life skills and knowledge needed to cope with today’s challenges and be agents of their own change, yet there are several factors such as poverty and violence limiting millions of children and young people in continents and regions around the world from getting an education.
The global crisis has had a great impact on education especially for the poor but through the #EducationInEmergency initiative we are ensuring inclusive education for the indigent child because education is not a privilege but a right of every child. This initiative brings HOPE to children who cannot afford online learning at this time, ensuring that they are a step closer to achieving their DREAMS while preparing them for a great FUTURE.
This program consists of five pillars:
The InnerCity Mission Network of Schools, which delivers free basic quality primary education.
The Back to School campaign which helps thousands of disadvantaged children get access to basic Primary education for free within their communities by providing them with “back-to-school” kits which include notebooks, school uniforms, backpacks, shoes, stationery and sometimes, tuition. They also carry out community school development projects, such as construction and/or renovation of blocks of classrooms, school furniture donation.
Education in emergencies, which collaborates with the Government in making up for lost time. As a result of violent crisis or natural disasters, displaced children may have missed out on months or years of education, To help them bridge the gap of lost school time, the InnerCity Mission collaborates with the Government and other humanitarian actors on ground to provide these vulnerable children with safe learning spaces and school supplies which are essentials to accelerate education
The Children Learning Centres (CLC) of The InnerCity Mission serves as a beacon of hope to vulnerable children, disadvantaged families and a valuable asset to communities as we directly provide a wide variety of programs and services, these include but not limited to the following:
And lastly the train the trainer approach incorporates various teachers training programs all geared towards improving children’s learning outcomes.
Gratitude and appreciation go to all our wonderful sponsors and partners. If you believe that every child deserves a fair chance, your support helps to provide essential educational materials to enhance learning at home and promote literacy skills, making it easier, more interactive and convenient whilst awaiting the resumption of school.
You have the option to sponsor a child with stationary, printable worksheets, file jackets, snacks and storybooks; or sponsor a teacher with learning materials, protective kits and resources. There is also the option of sponsoring a community with stationary, drawing books and recycling materials