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Without education, no-one can escape poverty. Yet in developing regions, more than a quarter of children in school do not complete primary school. 57 million children worldwide never even go to primary school, and only 12 percent have access to Early Childhood Education. Caritas is actively engaged in improving access to education: It supports pupils from poor and disadvantaged families with regard to the facilitation of learning, expenses for transport, school fees, school uniforms, materials and food. It trains teachers to improve the quality of the schools, invests in school infrastructures and reconstructs schools after disasters. Caritas also supports public authorities and communities in ensuring that school lessons take account of the needs of disadvantaged children so they can reach the educational objectives at the end of the school year.
Children who have to cope with physical and social disadvantage or harrowing experiences have difficulties retrieving their learning potential. That is why Caritas supports the psychosocial care of children who are traumatised or have to cope with toxic stress. Caritas uses an innovative pedagogical approach (essence of learning) which combines psychosocial activities with learning. This helps the children to make up for delays in their development already at pre-school age. Children who are in primary school can bridge their learning gaps and develop self-confidence, so they successfully master their stressful school days thanks to positive learning strategies.
However, a primary school education alone is not enough to build an independent life. For this reason, Caritas Switzerland focuses on the practical capabilities of people with little or no vocational training. This takes account of the local labour market, so that the students have job prospects when they have completed their education. In addition, Caritas supports young and disadvantaged people to organise themselves in cooperatives and start their own small enterprises.
Young people are the future. Every investment in their education will pay off several times over, not only for them but for society as a whole, too.