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Restricted access to education transmits poverty from generation to generation

Education in War Zones

Universal Access to Primary Schooling

In the war zones, many children don't even finish primary education due to bombed facilities and lack of teaching staff. In the South Kordofan, less than 10 percent of children complete grade 5, and of those, less than half can comprehend a simple paragraph. Our program Universal Access for All aims to provide free access to primary schooling and reduce the dramatically high dropouts.


The difficulty of getting to school because of long distances which take days and the high cost of schooling supplies have contributed to dropouts. Even when tuition is free, there are often expenses for lunch, uniforms, and examination fees.


Opportunity costs may be even larger—while they are in school, children forgo opportunities to produce income working on the family farm or selling in the marketplace. When education investments do not result in adequate learning, or even basic literacy and numeracy, parents do not keep their children in school. Very few students continue on to secondary school.


Job prospects for most people in the developing world are poor, and staying in school past grade 5, or even through grade 10, does not improve them significantly. In impoverished regions like the South Kordofan and Darfur, the vast majority will not secure formal employment and will be supported primarily through subsistence level agriculture and trading. Health outcomes in these regions are also dire. Millions of children die every year from controllable diseases such as diarrhea, respiratory infections, and malaria.​




A structure in a medical compound in the Nuba mountains damaged by a bomb dropped on their location.​

Traditional Education Model

Educational programs typically adopt traditional Western models of education—topics that may provide intellectual stimulation, but have little relevance in the lives of impoverished children. High-performing students in less developed regions face a much different future from their counterparts’ in wealthier areas. There are no higher levels of schooling or professional job opportunities awaiting most of these children; they will likely end up working on family or neighborhood farms or starting their own small enterprises.


Schooling provides neither the financial literacy students will need to manage the meager resources under their control, nor the guidance needed to create opportunities for securing a livelihood or building wealth. In addition, schooling provides little assistance to promote the physical health needed for economic stability and quality of life. Life expectancy is low in impoverished regions, and not just because of a lack of quality medical care. The devastation preventable disease wreaks on well-being and financial stability in poor regions can be dramatically mitigated through instruction on basic health behaviors, such as hand washing.


We fervently believe that what students in impoverished regions need are not more academic skills, but rather life skills that enable them to improve their financial prospects and well-being. These include financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills; health maintenance and management skills; and administrative capabilities, such as teamwork, problem-solving, and project management.​

New Education Model

We have developed a robust educational model that combines traditional content with critically important financial, health, and administrative skills delivered via existing school systems and teachers.


Our model shifts the goal of schooling away from the achievement of standardized learning outcomes toward making a positive impact on the economic and social well-being of students and their communities.


The model requires significant changes in both content and pedagogy.

  •  Entrepreneurship and health modules are mandatory curriculum components for all primary grade students.


  • Critical thinking and student-centered learning methods used require students to work in groups to solve complex problems and manage projects on their own.​


This approach is inspired by models of adult education in developing countries that focus on self-efficacy as a critical foundation of positive livelihood and health-seeking behaviors, along with active-learning pedagogies used in progressive schools throughout the world.


The health curriculum draws on the work of the World Health Organization and focuses on preventing disease, caring for sick children, and obtaining medical care.


The entrepreneurship curriculum is informed by our work with adult entrepreneurs in developing countries, and it draws ideas from a broad range of financial and entrepreneurial programs developed by organizations like the International Labour Organization, Junior Achievement, and Aflatoun.

Student-Centered Pedagogy

Our school system adopts action-oriented pedagogical approaches that hone critical thinking skills and enable children to identify problems, seek out and evaluate relevant information and resources, and design and carry out plans for solving these problems. This involves tackling real problems that require and empower students to take the initiative and responsibility for their own learning.


Conceptual knowledge is put into practice at school through activities that empower children to use what they have learned. For example, students practice routine health behaviors, such as hand washing and wearing shoes near latrines—and, to the extent feasible, gain exposure to other important behaviors, such as boiling drinking water and using malaria nets.


They practice routine market-like transactions by earning points for schoolwork and budgeting those points to obtain valuable prizes, such as sitting in a favorite chair or being first in line.


Students also develop higher order skills as they work in committees to develop and execute complex projects. Health-related projects can range from planning and carrying out an athletic activity to be played during recess, to practicing diagnostic skills when classmates are ill—helping to decide, for example, when a cold has turned into a respiratory infection that requires antibiotics.


Entrepreneurship projects include identifying and exploiting market opportunities through business ideas like school gardens or community recycling that create real value. Students learn and practice workplace skills and attitudes like delegation, negotiation, collaboration, and planning—opportunities that are rarely available to them outside their families.


Empowered Students Empower Communities

We develop classroom materials and pedagogical approaches in which students work in self-directed teams to learn, discuss, and actively practice, using the basic content included in standard governmental curricula.

We monitor academic performance, provide mentoring sessions, and provide scholarships for children of teenage mothers living below $1 per day


Through this unique combination of relevant content, practical implementation, and student empowerment, children develop a body of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will enable them to succeed and thrive when they leave school, whether they are headed toward college or remain in their communities.


The programme builds upon lessons learned from our ongoing successful pilot programs in the war zones. This concept if well-resourced can be replicated across rural communities in developing regions where women engage in petty trading.


Our curriculum combines business and technology programs with a rigorous liberal arts core, preparing students who are committed to becoming global ethical leaders.

We nurture the development of practical skills useful in everyday life, but also includes the development of higher-level skills such as problem-solving, project management, entrepreneurship, etc.​​


Our inclusive and nondiscriminatory model addresses homophobia and provides a safe space and opportunities for LGBTQ students to continue their education after being abandoned.​

Our education prepares the youth for poverty reduction and a better livelihood for the whole society and not to an individual who has just attained a good degree.

Get Involved

Your support provides opportunities for vulnerable women and young people in war zones and other vulnerable victims of injustice to access clean water as well as hygiene and sanitation programs. 


Join our community by making a one-time donation or, give monthly, or quarterly, or yearly and transform lives of survivors of war and genocide today.


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