Education heals, empowers, and includes
7 octobre 2020

Since May 2020, Aide et Action has been running an international awareness campaign entitled « Education changes our lives », made up of three components « Education Heals[AM1] « , « Education Empowers » and « Education Includes”.

Through a web-documentary series, Aide et Action aims to show the impact of education on all areas of life, from health to gender equality to socio-professional integration. The campaign has benefited from the support of many well-known French personalities such as Accident & Emergency doctor Patrick Pelloux, chef Thierry Marx and journalist and filmmaker Anastasia Mikova.

Health and hygiene education: more necessary than ever before

Because education helps prevent epidemics, teaches hygiene, and helps to solve health problems, the first part of the campaign entitled « Education Heals » highlights the links between education and health. Launched at the start of the COVID-19 health crisis, the campaign shows, through short videos, the first activities developed in our various areas of intervention such as traveling health stations in Cambodia which previously had served as mobile libraries.

A tuk-tuk previously used as a mobile library is repurposed to deliver information on hygiene education and much-needed supplies in rural communities during the Covid-19 outbreak in Cambodia. Photo: Christine Redmond/Aide et Action.

In addition to activities linked to the health crisis, Aide et Action also presents its “usual” activities in Benin, where water access points and sanitary blocks have been installed in schoolyards for hand washing, as part of the Phase project which aims to improve hygiene and sanitation, while making children aware of basic sanitation procedures. In Obdaga, Burkina Faso, the only school in the village did not have a functioning latrine or access to drinking water. In order to help its 236 students and improve their living conditions, four latrines and a borehole were been installed.

Is education the key for emancipation?

Numerous obstacles prevent girls and women from fully exercising their right to education. two-thirds of the 773 million illiterate adults around the world are women. Faced with these alarming statistics (and many more), Aide et Action decided to devote the second part of its campaign to the impact that education can have on increasing women and girl’s empowerment.

Education Empowers” is depicted, among others, in several short videos of projects which illustrate the importance of access to education for girls and women as well as the consequences on their lives, those of their families and their communities.

The first video takes us to India, where being born a girl still too often leads to being deprived of education and a future. Aide et Action supports young girls in very vulnerable situations. Our centres welcome these girls from the most marginalized communitiesso they benefit from academic guidance and appropriate support. In Burkina Faso, where many obstacles hinder the empowerment of women Aide et Action also offers literacy sessions and trains female participants of the project to conduct income-generating activities.

Defend inclusion for everyone, everywhere

Street children, children with disabilities, ethnic and linguistic minorities or migrants are among the most vulnerable populations and often face many inequalities. Giving them the opportunity to learn, to build a different future and to fully integrate into society are some of our  main objectives. This is why the third and final part of the campaign, « Education Includes » illustrates the importance of including these populations

Aide et Action under The Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children delivered radios in Cambodia’s Kratie province to enable ethnic minority children to tune into educational broadcasts in their language during school closures in response to Covid-19. Photo: Christine Redmond/Aide et Action.

According to UNESCO, 80% of people with disabilities live in developing countries and a third of out-of-school children have disabilities. A lack of equipment, support, and trained teachers also stand as major obstacles in accessing quality education.

In Cambodia, for example, under The Cambodian Consortium for Out of School Children, with support from Education Above All Foundation‘s project Educate a Child, we are working to ensure that disability is no longer a barrier to education. To do this, we work with partner organizations such as Rabbit School Organisation to train teachers on inclusive methodologies and we adapt classrooms in public school to meet the needs of children with disabilities. In this way, we support children to receive a better quality, fairer and more relevant education so that they can re-integrate into society through the school system.

In Vietnam, in the most remote provinces, Aide et Action supports communities from linguistic minorities so that their education systems become truly inclusive. To do this, we train teachers in bilingual education methods and we develop educational materials adapted to the language of each community.

Grade 2 primary school students in Lai Chau province, Vietnam. Photo: Christine Redmond/Aide et Action.

In India, to escape from extreme poverty, nearly 100 million people, including 15 million children, leave their villages each year to try to find employment. Children are then out of school because they live on construction sites where their parents work or are left to look after themselves and end up trapped in forced labour. To overcome this problem, Aide et Action is setting up specialized reception centres in the parents’ workplace, where children are looked after by trained teachers.

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