International Childcare Trust

International Childcare Trust (ICT) believes that all children, regardless of socio-economic background, have the right to enjoy their childhood and reach their potential. We partner with local grassroots NGOs in Africa and Asia - managed and staffed by local people - that protect children's rights. We combine the delivery of practical assistance with capacity building and advocacy initiatives because we take responsibility for building sustainability into the projects/partners we support.
Dec 13, 2011

What challenges do pupils face in pursuit of their education?

Children with their new school materials
Children with their new school materials

This important project aims to increase access to education for war-affected children and improve the livelihoods of their families in Kitgum District, northern Uganda.

Educational Support

Over the past 6 months, KICWA supported 184 pupils (96 female, 88 male) in primary school and 20 children in pre-primary school (12 female, 8 male) with basic educational support and payment of school fees (nursery) in the sub counties of Lokung, Palebek Kal, Kitgum Matidi, Mucwini, Lagoro, and Padibe West.  The scholastic support included provision of books, pens, pencils, maths sets and sanitary pads to girls in upper primary school.  In addition, KICWA staff conducted a focus group discussion (FGD) with both children and teachers.  The topic of the FGD was ‘what challenges do pupils face in pursuit of their education’ – see findings below.

Findings of FGD

  • Interference from the parents who engage their children in manual labour during school hours;
  • School syllabuses are often not covered because there are few teachers coupled with the frequent absenteeism of teachers;
  • Inadequate follow-up by parents on how their children are performing;
  • Long distance to travel by children to school.  This means going without food for the whole day therefore less concentration in class; and
  • Pupil to teacher ratio (100:1), which does not promote effective learning.   
Dec 7, 2011

Mobile library reaching thousands of children

The mobile library team with a family
The mobile library team with a family

Srey Leak, 11 years old, lives near the port in the bustling town of Sihanoukville.  Her parents make their living from selling fish and Srey often used to help them.  She recently dropped out of school to help earn some money for her family.

M’Lop Tapang’s mobile library team met her two years ago when they provided weekly education sessions on a fishing platform in a remote part of the fishing village.  M’Lop’s social workers assessed her needs and immediately found out she was not attending school.  They also found out that she had an ear problem and her parents could not afford to send her to a doctor.

The social worker referred her to the M’Lop Tapang clinic were staff treated her with antibiotics for an ear infection.  M’Lop’s Back-to-school team met her and her family and helped her return to school.  M’Lop met her teachers and director of the school and over time managed to help her reach the appropriate grade.  Srey was provided with school uniforms, shoes, school bags and learning materials, as well as M’Lop’s education team monitoring her attendance daily.  She is now in Grade 3.

She loves drawing and playing sport, and when she grows up she would like to be a nurse and help improve the healthcare situation in her community.

M’Lop’s mobile library is an excellent referral point for thousands of children in the Sihanoukville area, processing daily referrals of children back into education and training and for medical services, which are also available to their carers.

Nov 15, 2011

Project update from Pondicherry

Mobile Library
Mobile Library

In the past year, this project has provided care and protection to about 700 children living in Pondicherry and nearby districts.  Each child is assigned a social worker who is responsible for designing a ‘development plan’, based on their specific needs and abilities, which outline the care and support they will receive.  The plans are reviewed on a regular basis and help to monitor the child’s progress. 

130 young girls who used to live on the streets and were exposed to all forms of abuse and exploitation have been offered protection through Kalki’s night shelter (when needed) and provided with sexual/reproductive health education, workshops on confidence building, educational support, professional training and job placement.  Younger children (girls under 18 and boys under 14) who were facing similar difficulties or were simply left alone by their parents were also able to use the temporary night shelter.

The Outreach Programme and Drop-in Programme have enabled Kalki to be constantly in touch with the children (and their families) through follow-ups and the identification of new beneficiaries.  The outreach team has supported families and children both on the street where they live or through Kalki’s facilities, always keeping in mind that reunification between the child and his/her family should be the final objective, if possible and appropriate.  At present, the outreach team is in contact with 260 children.

The Mobile Library has brought education and recreational activities to more than 248 children each month, accessing those areas where no physical presence is possible but where there is a high concentration of children.  Touring the town, the Mobile Library also provides education on health, hygiene and child protection.

The Early Childhood Programme, which includes a crèche, kindergarten and pre-school, has supported an average of 75 children under the age of six each day.  As well as expert care by experienced and qualified staff, the programme offers nutritious meals, healthcare, early childhood education, and a wide range of stimulating activities for children.  These children would otherwise have been left alone on the street or under the care of older siblings while parents are at work.  This programme has therefore also enabled the older siblings to attend school.

Finally, with the recently started HIV programme Kalki has supported 140 children in the districts of Pondicherry and Cuddalore by providing them with nutritional food, recreational activities, health check-ups and emotional support.  Visits by Kalki’s dedicated social workers have meant that the condition of the children can be continually assessed, while the support of the Mobile Library has meant that areas away from the town can be accessed.

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