Why the project is needed
Over half of all families in rural northern Ghana live in poverty. Many parents want to give their children the education they never had, but sending a child to school for a year costs on average an entire month’s earning. For those that fight hard to get their children to school, a bad harvest or death in the family could mean a child has to drop out because there isn’t enough money to pay for books or exam fees.
While the Ghanaian government has recently launched free senior high school - junior high school is already free - the transition period to make this a reality has not been smooth. There are still major gaps between policy and practice, and barriers that are keeping poor children out of secondary school still exist. The scheme is only for newly enrolled students and they must pre-finance costs before applying for a repayment from the Ghana Education Service. For most families this upfront cost continues to pose as a barrier.
Despite the new government’s policy and investment being a positive step forward, there remains a gap for children from low income families who will continue to slip through the net without extra support.
How the project helps
The Education Fund provides financial support to students whose families are struggling to make ends meet. This support could be the difference between a child being the first in their family to secure a secondary education or not, yet the support can be as simple as funds for books or learning materials.
The team identify students that are at the highest risk of dropping out, many of whom have been referred by their community or school. Each individual must then complete an application which AfriKids uses to assess their level of need and the support package required which varies from case to case. It could include funds for school related fees, learning materials, accommodation and food.
With support from the project, in 2018 approximately 250 students will be able to continue their studies, opening up much better employment opportunities for their future and helping them to break the cycle of poverty, for good. Without this support it is likely many would earn a living from subsistence farming like their parents or travel south in search of work putting them at major risk of harm and abuse.