Sunday, 25 June 2017



Malala Yousafzai (Pakistani Activist for female Education and Noble Prize laureate) said, "In some parts of the world, students are going to school every day. It's their normal life. But in other parts of the world, children are starving for education; it's like a precious gift. It's like a diamond…" This is exactly what the children in Deme and other deprived villages experience every blessed day.
On any given day, more than 1 billion of the world’s children go to school. Whether they sit in buildings, in tents or under trees, ideally they are learning, developing and enriching their lives.
For too many children, though, school is not always a nice experience. Some endure difficult conditions, like missing or inadequate teaching materials or makeshift sanitation facilities. Others lack appropriate curricula. Still, others may be forced to contend with discrimination and even violence. These conditions are not conducive to learning or development, and no child should have to experience them. Other children may not even have the opportunity to have a first experience at all in school. To such children, the question perhaps is: what does the future hold?

According to the UNICEF report 2016, over 59 million children of primary-school age are still out of school and more are being denied access to basic education. More than half of them live in sub-Saharan Africa. The challenge is most acute in West and Central Africa, where the net enrolment rate stood at 74 percent in 2013. Although government attempt to make education accessible for all children, however, a lot also needs to be done. As recorded by UNICEF Ghana, Nearly 623,500 children of primary school age in Ghana are not enrolled in primary school and one out of four children in the kindergarten age range (from four to five years of age) are not in pre-school. Most of these children are of poor economic background and lives in the rural community.
The story is not different from some rural communities in Ghana hence not exempted from these crises. Some include Deme, Korsakope, Avorvlortey and its environs located in the Volta region of Ghana, West Africa. The children from these environs have no access to education in their communities, hence, walking about 10.00km to the nearest community and back for education. Why should they suffer such torture? Children just for their zeal and their love for learning have to withstand the harsh weather conditions in the midst of several other risk factors starring at them.
Nearly over 124 children from such communities from the age of 1 year -12 years do not go to school due to access and distance. Most of these children who enter school at such age find it difficult to read or write. The gap left is eminent. From where comes their help? 
These are children whose parent pay taxes in any form and contribute to national growth and total Gross Domestic Income in the country yet they are marginalized.
Indeed, education that is of poor quality is tantamount to no education at all. There is little point in providing the opportunity for a child to enroll in school if the quality of the education is so poor that the child will not become literate or numerate, or will fail to acquire critical life skills.

The children from these communities miss the early childhood experience that intends to prepare them later in life. Averagely, a child from any of the communities has to be at least six (6) years of age before they start their primary education.
Yet, nearly half the world’s children – especially those from marginalized populations – are likely to miss out on programs that can develop these skills in early childhood; the children in these communities are perfect case studies.
A child's brain develops rapidly during the first five years of life, especially in the first three years. It is a time of rapid cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional and motor development. For example, a child learns many words starting at around 15–18 months. Rapid language learning continues into the preschool years.
Each time the child uses one of the senses, a neural connection is made in the child's brain. New experiences repeated many times help make new connections, which shape the way the child thinks, feels, behaves and learns now and in the future.

In developing countries, studies indicate that early childhood development (ECD) programs lead to higher levels of primary school enrolment and educational performance, which in turn positively affect employment opportunities later in life. On the reverse, children who start school late and lack the necessary skills are more likely to fall behind or drop out completely, often perpetuating a cycle of poverty.
In the face of these stories and situations, The PeaceAids International strives to improve young children’s capacity to develop and learn, and to ensure that their educational environments provide the necessary tools they need to flourish. We believe it is our priority to ensure that no child is at a disadvantage in realizing his/her full potential. All children of school-going age belong in the classroom!
Our work on behalf of school readiness rests on three pillars: children’s readiness for school; schools’ readiness for children; and the readiness of families and communities to help children make the transition to school. Together, these pillars bolster the likelihood of a child being able to succeed in school.

Five reasons why we need to help;
1. Getting things done the first time is much more effective than trying to fix them later.
2. Building strong and solid cognitive and learning skills early in life can have a lasting impact on learning, behavior, and health.
3. Highly specialized interventions are needed as early as possible for children experiencing toxic stress.
4. All society benefits from investments in children programs.
5. The early years of every child of school going age matter because, in the first few years of life, 700 new neural connections are formed every second. Neural connections are formed through the interactions of genes and a baby’s environment and experiences. These are the connections that build brain architecture - the foundation upon which later learning, behavior and health depend.
6. In the first years of life, children establish the cognitive, emotional and social foundations upon which they build their futures. Early childhood is the most significant developmental period of life. A baby who is visually stimulated, continuously engaged in interactive activities, hugged, cooed to and comforted is more likely to fully develop cognitive, language, emotional and social skills, all of which are vital for success in school, in the community and subsequently later in life. Further studies have also indicated that, for every $1.00 invested in early childhood program, there is a $4.00-$9.00 return.

Let help.

           Secretary-General, PeaceAids International.

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