Education is a powerful agent of change. It improves health, livelihoods and contributes to social stability and drives long-term economic growth. However, among the many causes of global poverty, one factor that stands out is “education”. Not every person without an education is living in extreme poverty, but most of the extremely poor do lack a basic education. Those living below the poverty line will also be more likely to keep their children out of school, which means that their children will also have a greater chance of living in poverty. According to UNESCO, if all students in low-income countries had just basic reading skills, an estimated 171 million people could escape extreme poverty. If all adults completed secondary education, we could cut the global poverty rate by more than half.

Education is often referred to as the great equalizer: It can open the door to jobs, resources, and skills that a family needs to not just survive, but thrive. Access to high-quality primary education and supporting child well-being is a globally-recognized solution to the cycle of poverty. Accurate literacy will allow these children to build a stronger, safer and better nation with their knowledge and experiences. It will help us to break the social evils like racism, crime, corruption, unemployment, discrimination and of course poverty.

Scenario in Bangladesh

Around 6.2 million children, which is more than 1 in 4 school-age children, are currently out of school, particularly in urban slums and hard-to-reach areas. Of them, some 4.6 million children are of primary-school age. Major barriers to accessing education continue to exist for marginalised and excluded children, most vulnerable to low learning and dropout rates at both primary and secondary levels. In the worst-performing Upazilas or sub-districts, as many as 45 per cent of children are out of school. Working children, children with disabilities and children in remote areas affected by disaster are also often denied their right to education.

Natural disasters as well as harmful social norms contribute to children dropping out of school. While urban children are more likely to attend school, the number of children between 6 and 10 years of age, who are out of school is high within Dhaka City Corporation, showing prevalence of child labour in the Bangladeshi capital. There are even more barriers to this list, which includes family poverty, hidden costs, disability, rigidity of formal systems and lack of alternative options. Lack of safety and high prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse in public places contribute to girls’ dropout from schools.

Education is the route out of poverty for many children. It gives them a chance to gain the knowledge and skills needed to improve their lives. But hundreds of children never see the inside of a classroom. For many families the long-term benefits of sending their children to school are outweighed by the immediate need to send them to work or keep them at home to help with chores. But by sacrificing their education, they become trapped in a cycle of poverty.

AMAL’s Contribution

AMAL believes every child should have the right to a quality education. To achieve this goal, Amal built schools to help educate the youth most often left behind. Giving these children access to quality education, will give them a chance for a brighter future. It will empower them to realize their full potential and shape their own future through their talent and hard work. Given the right education, they can have an equal opportunity at achieving their dreams.

In Amal Foundation’s primary schools, marginalized children are receiving free education. Multiple paid teachers are appointed in each school. Amal also provides them excursion, education materials, meals, and extra nutrition to take home. Their curriculum also includes agricultural and sustainability training where they practice gardening and grow fresh vegetables as a part of their learning. We aim to build schools in every district of Bangladesh so that every child receives equal opportunity and gets a chance to make the best out of their future.