It starts with an education center...
In an ideal world primary education would be quality, universal and publicly funded so that children (regardless of their family circumstances) could attain the life skills and knowledge needed to function and exercise their rights within society. The problem is that many developing countries lack either the financial resources or the political will to accomplish this. Today millions of children and their families are waiting for their governments to respond and still many of them will never get the opportunity to access an education.
Our goal is to supplement the availability or quality of existing (or non-existing) education infrastructure with the provision of education centers. Our education centers act as a temporary bridge for families to access education services where none exist, either because of conflict, displacement, natural disasters or extreme poverty. Through this process we can then begin the process of working with governments to improve state education services and outcomes for communities that need it most.
What does this look like on the ground in a difficult situation like conflict or extreme poverty?
Firstly we identify the actual locations where the education standards are the lowest. Then a series of community meetings take place where we clearly state our intentions, advocate the need for education access and proposal the trial of an education center. If the community is supportive of the idea and is willing to provide an appropriate venue we proceed to training.
Providing teachers with adequate training is an integral part of our education services so all of our centers experience ongoing training, resourcing and support from qualified staff. In most situations there is a suitable, motivated individual who withtraining and support can successfully provide their community with a supplementary education service. Once the teacher completes the initial screening and training we begin a trial center.
The trial phase begins with the Sparrow staff visiting each family in the local community and introducing themselves and the education center. Families are personally encouraged to allow their children to attend classes everyday or as often as they can. The trial lasts for 3 months and is then reassessed based on the communities utilization of the center.
At this point the education center operates on an annual cycle in sync with the national education systems. The function of these established centers is to bridge students into existing national education systems and provide support to students that are struggling or are significantly behind. However if no national education services exists the center's goal is to help students achieve a level of literacy and numeracy that is sufficient to their need.