In 2008, we started addressing the need to keep children in education from primary through to high school through our Sponsor a Child program. Through this we have sponsored over 240 children to attend school. The next step is to provide more options for these children to continue their studies after grade 12. Higher education is instrumental in fostering growth, reducing poverty, and boosting shared prosperity.
In Zambia, only 8% of youth complete secondary school; with just 3% of those students going on to complete higher education. With 60% of the population living below the poverty line, it is not uncommon for children to be forced into labour to support their families at a time where they should be attending school and learning. Additionally, many talented students graduating from Grade 12 often are limited to extend their training due to the big financial commitment.
This program bridges the gap from secondary school to three possible tertiary and vocational program pathways: 1 year vocational training, Zambian university placement, or international university placement. Gifted students are offered the opportunity to attend a life changing university foundation course through our partners, such as Yale Young African Scholars Program, which has to the potential to lead to international university placement.
Investing in education and skills leads to employment opportunities and pathways out of poverty. Without education, the youth of Zambia will not have the tools to thrive at future jobs and the cycle of poverty will continue through the generations. A formal education gives young adults the opportunity to develop skills that will allow them to earn a living and support themselves, their families, and their communities in the future.