Sarah Dachos via Crowdrise
June 01, 2011
Brian Dickerson wrote -
Actually, they all want to go to school. :) You can tell by the faces in the photos, mostly.
I'm raising funds for children and their families in one of the world's smallest countries, Sao Tome & Principe, West Africa. Funds go through STEP UP, a small NGO I encountered while in the country; they were recommended to me by the embassy staffers for transparency and effectiveness. It's a poor country with little employment for the unskilled. It's tough for families to cover the cost of school. Girls especially get left behind in Africa when families have to choose which of their kids get to go to school. STEP UP provides uniforms, shoes, school supplies, in-home tutoring, and some food assistance for the families. We've got 4 families funded so far, all folks I've met and spent time with. They are so touched to have friends in the US who will partner with them to get their kids through school. It costs about $700/yr per child and includes help for the rest of the family. About 40% of the kids are undernourished; under-weight for height, under-height for age. Pictures are from Children's Day at Almas Elementary School and the neighborhoods. Wonderful folks, could use a hand.
School is available with some public funding through 6th grade. Secondary ed costs money most families haven't got. We get to help; it's a no-joke big deal, especially for the girls. If we help, they get to stay in school, and they get tutors and AIDS/Health classes, and school supplies, and some help for the family to stay healthy.
UPDATE: An aid worker came to me in JAN on behalf of a family that had nothing. Dad lost his arm along with his job in an accident. They were at the end of hope. I gave them what I had, came home and found a thoughtful friend who generously has sponsored them through the rough times. They now have a floor in the house and bedding for the kids; all the kids are in school doing well. The older boy passed the 6th grade achievement test which about 70% of the kids fail. It means he gets to go on to 7th grade where he will study English. Sweet kid. In September '10 during my last visit there, Dad embraced me and thanked me for his American friends standing by his family through the impossible days.
For the education help, we'll piggyback on the existing successful Winrock scholarship program already underway in Sao Tome and Principe. Winrock/STEP_UP sponsors about 1000 kids, about 600 of them girls who would have been left behind; our kids get added to the program. http://www.winrock.org/common/files/Publications/program_brochures/aei_sage_brochure_final.pdf