Jul 11, 2017

Ask Google how to solve poverty, and it’ll offer “through education” as one of its auto-complete options. And for good reason. A lot of people do believe that it is the solution. Getting a solid education is a step towards getting a job, and earning a living is easily the most obvious way to lift yourself (and your family) out of poverty. We know this because we’ve seen it happen—both on television and in real life. We have this not-so-strange fixation on sending kids to school precisely because of this.

But education as a solution is also being disputed. People argue that education alone will not be effective, especially if other factors remain stacked against the person in poverty. Unjust social structures, abusive domestic environments, and poor healthcare are just some of them.

Studies have long been done on how studying can be made more effective, and it’s been proven that a good environment is necessary. But a good environment conducive for learning doesn’t just involve the physical space where a child learns. A conducive working and studying environment involves the freedom to enjoy the following as well:

Good nutrition and health
Before you can digest information, you’ll need to digest food first. Try studying or working on an empty stomach. It’s hard. It’s distracting. Imagine how much harder it is if you can’t even get decent meals all day. Being able to eat properly and get the right nutrients is important, especially as these aid in the brain’s functions. In the same vein, fighting an illness will do very little in helping you accomplish a task or learn lessons.

Family or social relationships
The people around you also affect how well you can study or work. If you’re surrounded by an abusive, uncaring, or insensitive group, chances are, you’d end up distracted, scared, insecure, and possibly even too traumatized to properly function. For children exploited by family or other adults to do work, or get abused domestically, these are real problems, and some affect them so much they end up leaving and not wanting to come back home.

How to help
Trying to fix society so that children not only get better opportunities but also get to enjoy better living conditions is no easy task. It’s not something few of us can do, even with enough will power. And we have to admit, not everyone has the luxury of time to personally, physically help out.

If personally volunteering doesn’t seem viable, there are still other ways you can contribute to change. Donations always go a long way, especially for advocacies in education, as they’ll always need funds for various things like school supplies, scholarships, and sometimes even living expenses of children taken in by foundations.

The Virlanie Foundation, for example, takes in youth from the streets and from abusive environments, and gives them a chance to get an education. With around 30,000 children on the streets in NCR alone, they have a big task ahead of them. Like many of us, they believe that education is key to a better life, but it will only be an effective solution if the child is also in a safe, secure, and non-abusive community.

They’ve partnered with new online crowdfunding platform Gava Gives to make the task of donating easier, as interested donors can simply do so with a few clicks through their website.

(Read: The science behind generosity)

Donations don’t have to be of big amounts either. For example, a donation of P800 can send a child to school for a month, and P2,000 can help support a day of computer training for 20 young adults, leadership training for one young adult, and a year of studying for two children. And if you’re curious how far P20 will go—just add a bit more and you can still help with a child’s educational or medical needs.


Photos courtesy of Unsplash.


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TAGS: advocacy children donate donation education gava gives nolisoliph poverty street children virlanie foundation