Hungry for education

In refugee camps in Darfur, Sudan, countless children are forced to miss out on an education so they can work and earn money for their families. Parents wish they could give their children a chance at a brighter future, but simply cannot afford to feed them if they attend school. Islamic Relief is changing all of that for over a thousand children…

“It is helping us a lot, and soon my brothers will also join the school!”

Najad Mohammed, 13, and her sister used to be the only children in her family to attend school. Living in a refugee camp in Nertiti, Darfur, her parents could barely afford to feed their five children. Najad’s three brothers worked alongside them to earn more money instead of getting an education.

“We rely on the wages my father receives from his job as a day labourer,” says Najad. “Sometimes we go with our mother to work in other houses – washing clothes, cleaning and taking care of their kids to earn some money and help our family.”

In Sudanese refugee camps, hundreds of families face the same difficult choices. Over half the population of Darfur cannot read or write, with only 54 percent of children enrolled in school. Some, like Najad’s brothers, are forced to work to buy food for their families.  Many parents wish that they could offer their children an education and a chance for a brighter future.

Islamic Relief is giving over a thousand children that chance. We’re removing one of the main obstacles to education – lack of food – by supplying 1,159 poor students with staple foods including cereal, pulses, oil and salt…providing they attend school.

It’s a solution which suits everyone. Parents need no longer worry about where their children’s next meal will come from, while students aren’t forced to leave their childhood behind too early. Instead of entering the adult world of work, they get the education they need to hope for a better future.

Importantly, over three-quarters of the children benefiting from this project are girls. UNESCO research reliably shows that the more educated a mother, the healthier and more likely to survive infancy her children will be. Therefore, this project will improve the lives of not just today’s children, but generations to come.

And there’s one girl who couldn’t be more delighted at the improvements we’re making to her school: “Islamic Relief is also building four classrooms in our school, and we are very happy about this!” smiled Najad.