Education is every child’s right. And yet, an estimated 263 million children and youth around the world are currently out of school.
In remote villages, in flooded communities, at refugee camps and in schools across the developing world, Plan International is making education more accessible for children – helping them overcome barriers to learn, lead and unleash their full potential.
Here are 6 creative ways in which we help ensure that children are able to exercise their right to education in communities across the globe.
Technology and Innovation
1. Library in China
In rural communities in China, libraries are often unused. To increase the use of libraries and promote a general interest in reading amongst children, Plan International China developed a unique way to get children interested in the management of the library. They introduced an online book management software and encouraged children to become volunteer members of the library management team. With the support of Plan International staff and their school teachers, the volunteers are responsible for managing and maintaining the library located in their schools!
This is an innovative project, informing and educating communities in Senegal about children’s rights! The Cinébus travels to far-flung villages and screens short films (15 minutes); the idea is to use cinema as a tool to educate and raise awareness among rural communities on issues ranging from children’s education to their rights and overall development. It also aims to educate children and adults about basic health and hygiene practices. The films give clear messages through simple stories and are screened in French and the local language. They are produced in a way that makes the characters, stories and issues relateable and reflective of the local community.
A Plan International initiative worked to make Jannatul’s school more accessible and disability-friendly by constructing a ramp, an accessible washroom and decorating the classrooms in bright colours! In addition, a concrete path now connects the school to the main road for safer access for all students, including those with disabilities. These changes have helped Jannatul beat her shyness and feelings of isolation! Her grades have gone up and she is now thriving alongside her classmates in mainstream education. She now dreams of going to university to become a teacher.
Climate inspired tools and education
4. Solar powered school
Plan International in collaboration with Samsung Electronics launched an innovative Solar Power Internet School (SPIS), the first of its kind to be constructed in Ethiopia! The SPIS plays a vital role in enhancing the quality of primary education. It has been built in a 12-metre renovated shipping container that can:
- Accommodate up to 24 students
- Is fitted with solar panels that power the electronic equipment
- Has a 65-inch large-format display screen
- A teacher’s laptop which connects to all of the student’s computers
- 24 Samsung notebooks laptops
- A printer and fans to cool the container.
As part of this education program, Information Communication Technology (ICT) centres have been established in more than 100 schools allowing teachers and students to use technology to support their education!
You can purchase a Solar Power Kit through our Gifts of Hope catalog.
5. Rain Gauges
At schools in the Southeastern part of Haiti, Plan International has installed rain gauges which the students use to measure rainfall and track the amount of falling water. This simple tool helps the students predict when floods are likely to occur. In a country that is the most hurricane-prone country on the planet and one that has also been struck by powerful earthquakes, this tool can be life changing.
A significant consequence of disasters is the impact they have on children’s education, which is often one of the first activities abandoned when disasters occur. The rain gauge is an example of how Plan International’s Safe Schools Global Program is increasing the resilience of school communities against hurricanes through the implementation of school emergency and preparedness plans.
6. Sanitary Pads
Around the word, menstruation disrupts girls’ participation in school because they lack access to products and facilities that would help them manage this time of the month.
Plan International has partnered with a social enterprise in Uganda called AFRIPads to help girls and women improve their menstrual hygiene management. This partnership is increasing accessibility to products and also working to empower women as the social enterprise trains them on how to manufacture reusable sanitary pads.
Stigma and lack of awareness about menstruation are also key factors that keep girls at home during menstruation. In response, Plan International has set up health clubs that discuss periods and how to manage them effectively. By improving their understanding of menstruation, we are ensuring girls are better able to look after their health needs and still attain an education.
In Bangladesh, a Plan International supported community has helped open up sanitary pad businesses called SaniMarts. Young entrepreneurs receive training and materials to create effective, low-cost sanitary pads – and turn a profit.
Like teenagers around the world, SaniMart members spend 1-2 hours per day at their afterschool job, successfully producing an average of 4,000 pads each month! The benefits of the project have been two-fold: the business serves as a source of income helping support financial independence, while the products provide the chance to stay healthy, in class and active within the community.
Explore our interactive path to school
It our mission to help make education a reality for all children. But do you know what’s holding children back from unleashing their power and potential?
Find out by going on an interactive journey and follow either Sam or his sister Monica on their path to school and learn about the various obstacles they face when trying to exercise their right to education!