Here in America, most kids are halfway through their summer break. Before we know it, though, binders and pencils will go on sale, and stores will be packed with parents and their children filling up their carts with new notebooks and backpacks. That can only mean one thing — school is right around the corner.
But in many countries, the school year is already in full swing! Here’s what the school year might look like for your sponsored child.
Students in India finish secondary school at the age of 16. They then take an exam to determine if they will continue on to “junior college.”
Two things dictate school schedules in India: weather and holidays. Because of the extreme heat of the summer months, many schools will take significant breaks during the months of June and July, even if school started in April. India is home to a number of religions, and schools often close for popular Hindu and Muslim holidays such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Holi, and Ramadan.
There are almost an equal number of public and private schools in India. However, like many places around the world, public school does not mean it’s free. Students are required to wear a uniform and have certain materials. This makes it difficult for children in poor communities to attend after the age of 10. Early childhood education focuses primarily on the study of Hindi, English, and mathematics.
But because of child sponsors, students at many sponsorship programs have access to a complete education — giving them the chance to finish school and pursue their dreams.
In Thailand, the school year begins in May and lasts until early February. That means sponsored children in Thailand are in school right now! As in India, students are required to wear uniforms and bring the appropriate school supplies to class every day. Because of this, students from slum areas often stop attending school before reaching the equivalent of high school.
The Thai government mandates school through grade nine. However, fees and expenses make it difficult for many students to attend beyond that. Just over 50 percent of students will go on to secondary school or vocational training; the rest must find jobs using the little training and education they have.
But because of child sponsorship, numerous students in Thailand are receiving the educational assistance they need. Sponsorship funds an after-school program where students receive tutoring, school supplies, snacks, and uniforms. Because of sponsors, these students have the tools they need to continue thriving in school and beyond.
In Uganda, it isn’t just the cost that keeps children out of school — it’s the distance. Schools are spread out, and children living in remote villages find it difficult to make the long journey to attend. It leaves little time to study.
However, thanks to child sponsors, many children have been given the chance to live at a boarding school so they can receive their education.
Children who are a part of the residential program at this school receive almost everything they need! This includes room and board to live on campus, school tuition, school uniforms, and school supplies. They also have access to an on-campus medical clinic.
Many of these children come from at-risk areas. Because of this, their education has likely been delayed. Some children in Uganda don’t graduate from secondary school until they reach their early 20s. However, since education is so rare, these students treat it as a gift. They know their years in the classroom will prepare them to chase their dreams and give back to their communities.
How you can help
School may look different around the world, but one thing remains the same — children deserve a chance to succeed. And education is one of the most effective ways to give them that chance.
That’s why most sponsored children receive some form of educational assistance. Some kids receive help with school fees, books, and uniforms. Others attend tutoring or supplemental classes, ensuring each child has a chance at a bright future.
When you sponsor a child, you offer him the tools and necessities needed to reach his potential. Your gift of $35 is life changing for a child living in poverty.