On June 16, 1976, more than 100 students in Soweto, South Africa, were shot and killed and thousands were injured after a protest for equal and quality education for all children.
Tomorrow, June 16, is the Day of the African Child. This day has been celebrated every year since 1991 in memory of those who participated in the Soweto protest and to raise awareness for the continued improvement of Africa’s educational systems.
The education system in Uganda has experienced many challenges, such as a lack of instructional materials and overloaded classrooms. A shortage of teachers in schools has also led to high dropout rates and poor performance among students.
“Our country has good policies on children’s rights,” said Unbound-Uganda staffer Christine Naluyima, but despite the push to improve the quality of education, “it has failed to yield realistic benefits in a meaningful way.”
Without the implementation of policies, Christine said, “the beneficiaries will not gain anything and … the yearly celebrations will be a waste of resources.”
At Unbound, we believe the right to education should be upheld for every individual without any form of discrimination. Through sponsorship, children and youth receive educational benefits including tuition and school fees, books and career guidance and training.
“[The] Kampala project promotes education for all through developing the child’s personality, talents, mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential. …” said Teddy Naluwu, coordinator for Unbound in Kampala, Uganda. “Education should aim at preparing children to face the future with confidence and live responsibly in the society.”
In 2013, Unbound gathered data on educational attainment averages of Unbound sponsored youth and compared it to national educational attainment averages. The results showed students sponsored through Unbound in African countries had an average educational attainment above the educational attainment of their peer average.
Unbound helps sponsored youth achieve a level of education that prepares them compete with their peers for jobs and be educated community members, parents and leaders. Sponsored friends are no longer at a disadvantage educationally in their communities and, as they leave the Unbound program, are better prepared on a path out of poverty.
Through the Unbound program, sponsored children and young people in Africa are finding ways to finish school and reach their full potential.