In everything we do, we seek to serve the whole person: physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Whether addressing the needs of a vulnerable child, the challenges facing a family in poverty, or the issues preventing a community from thriving, we deal with specific problems with the understanding that each issue interacts with and impacts others. In this series, we focus on one specific facet of the complex challenges facing those in need around the world.
For most of us, going to school was something to be endured while we waited for life to “truly begin”. But for many of the world’s most vulnerable children, going to school is the key to unlocking life opportunities that can break their community’s cycle of poverty. Education is powerful; so powerful it can transform lives for generations.
Education has a long-term and sustained impact on a family and community. It’s the foundation for getting a job. Jobs fight the root causes of poverty by providing families consistent income. When adults can support their families, their children are more likely to attend school. Children with a rich foundation of learning have better options for employment and are better able to lead financially stable families and strong communities when they grow up. In this way, a strong education has the power to accelerate generations out of poverty.
According to a report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), about 263 million youth worldwide (or one in every five) are not in school — a figure that has barely changed over the past five years. The UIS figures confirm that across sub-Saharan Africa, one in every three youths are out of school — with girls more likely to be excluded than boys. For every 100 boys of primary school age who are out of school, there are 123 girls denied the right to education.
At Cross International, we understand the challenges of poverty are interrelated. When a child is sick, hungry, or worried about where to sleep, focus — and hope — is lost. That’s why our educational initiatives are multi-faceted. Together with our ministry partners, our school programs seek not only to provide a place to learn, but to serve as a pillar in a community that offers a stable food supply, a community shelter for emergencies, and a space to find good counsel, learn about the gospel, and find hope. An integrated Christian education is more than teaching children about Jesus and His ministry, it is laying the groundwork for a commitment to life-long learning and service.
To provide the greatest impact, we often focus most heavily on providing educational opportunities to those who would otherwise have no option. For example, over-aged children who are too old to enroll in primary school, but who still need a primary school education. By focusing on those who are the most marginalized, we can offer education to those who have no alternatives available to them. Our educational programs offer a full spectrum of options, including primary and elementary school services, educational infrastructure support, higher learning opportunities and vocational training. We also provide for unique needs like night school, support for children with disabilities, and adult literacy programs.
We believe children shouldn’t just survive, they should thrive. These educational efforts have a unique power to transform lives from the inside out. Education is the key to equipping children and families with the intellectual tools they need to shape innovative solutions and find opportunities of their own. While a lack of education and illiteracy can contribute heavily to the generational cycle of poverty, education can have an equal and opposite positive impact on generations.
By giving children a strong education and the hope of the gospel, you give them the opportunity for stable families and strong communities as they grow up. Your prayers and partnership in our Thriving Kids ministry makes that possible. Will you join us in offering education to those in need so they can transform their lives and communities for His glory?