Education represents the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of children, families, communities, and nations around the world—the most reliable route out of poverty and a critical pathway towards healthier, more productive citizens and stronger societies.
Today, an estimated 58 million children of primary school age (ages 6 to 11 years) are not attending school worldwide. Among adolescents (ages 12 and above), 63 million are not attending secondary school worldwide (UNESCO Institute for Statistics and UNICEF). Education is crucial for children to reach their potential and fulfill their life's goals. But for some children, the obstacles to receiving an education are much greater than for others. Statistically, children living in the poorest communities of developing countries struggle with persistent barriers to receiving the education they need.
Children whose homelands have been ravaged by conflict—and those living in or fleeing active conflict zones—face steep barriers. Girls are more likely to be kept home from school than boys in some countries. In other areas, children cannot attend school because they must work in menial jobs to help their families survive.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) helps to strengthen children's education in many different ways. Though UMCOR is generally not involved in the daily activities of teaching children, as part of its development work it often finds ways to assist communities that seek to provide better education for their children. Your gifts on UMCOR Sunday enabled UMCOR to construct classrooms, school latrines, and provisions to collect and store fresh water In Haiti, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
UMCOR's Education and Child Protection program in Sudan focuses on teacher training, school construction or reconstruction, establishing parent-teacher associations, and providing essential school supplies for students. Some of the UMCOR country offices contribute sports equipment, classroom equipment, desks, and other school furnishings, often in partnership with other international or government humanitarian organizations.
In places where families are reluctant to send girls to co-ed schools, UMCOR has developed programs to enhance girls' enrollment and retention. Community engagement programs that teach the importance of girls' education may be part of this work. In South Sudan, UMCOR has trained teachers and students to monitor daily attendance through the South Sudan School Attendance and Monitoring System (SSAMS) and supported a girls' mentoring program in schools.
Sometimes the barriers to education are not complicated but still insurmountable without help. A little extra money to pay tuition, or buy such necessities as uniforms, supplies, or books may be all a child needs to enroll in or stay in school. Even the lack of sanitary supplies for menstrual periods for some adolescent girls means they miss a week of classes every month. UMCOR grants and interventions help surmount these barriers in targeted communities.
New World Outlook magazine, Spring 2017 issue
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, UMCOR Sunday calls United Methodists to share the goodness of life with those who hurt. Your gifts to UMCOR Sunday lay the foundation for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to share God's love with communities everywhere. The special offering underwrites UMCOR's "costs of doing business." This helps UMCOR to keep the promise that 100 percent of any gift to a specific UMCOR project will go toward that project, not administrative costs.
When you give generously on UMCOR Sunday, you make a difference in the lives of people who hurt. Give now.