While education is a human right, the chance to attend and complete school is too often denied to children in Zambia. Cecily’s Fund works to ensure that as many children as possible do get the schooling they deserve—a challenge we approach from a number of key angles.
The cost of school fees is a major barrier which keeps children from progressing in their education. Over 60% of Zambians live in extreme poverty, and many families are unable to afford the fees charged for secondary school. With our partners, Cecily’s Fund identifies the children in most need and helps to meet not only the cost of fees themselves, but also of uniforms, books and shoes.
Because one of our goals is to help communities become self-sufficient, we put in place interventions to assist them with generating their own income to help pay school fees. These include supporting community savings groups, and the provision of training in essential business and financial literary skills.
The risks of dropping out of school are most severe for girls. It is all too common for early pregnancy or marriage to bring an early end to a girl’s education. Cecily’s Fund helps to counter this by making sure families are aware of the long-term value of education, to encourage them not to seek early marriage for girls.
Peer Health Education plays a vital role in helping girls develop the knowledge and psychosocial skills to stay on and complete education. The sessions empower girls to delay pregnancy and marriage until adulthood, and Peer Educators themselves are key role models who show children how education is the route to a better life.