“There are 121 million children around the world who should be in school but don’t have the chance – that breaks my heart and I can’t and won’t sit back and do nothing about it,” said Sarah, Duchess of York.
In an effort to combat this statistic, the duchess travelled to Sierra Leone with her charity Street Child to launch the Schools for Tomorrow Campaign. The new initiative aims to “build, renovate and re-energise schools in the world’s toughest places.”
The organisation has an impressive plan: to give more than 100,000 children in Sierra Leone an education over the next five years by building or upgrading 1,000 rural schools.
Street Child works to give some of the world’s most vulnerable children schooling, and the situation in Sierra Leone is dire. In the wake of years of civil war, followed by the Ebola epidemic, thousands of children remain orphaned and forced to survive on the streets.
Even before the Ebola outbreak, more than 230,000 children in the country were not enrolled in school, according to UNICEF.
When children must work to survive, school becomes an afterthought, and even for those who could attend school, scores of children live in remote communities where they simply do not have access to an education. Adding to the problem, many girls in Sierra Leone are prevented from attending school, which Street Child addressed in their Girls Speak Out Appeal in 2016.
“What I’m fighting for is simple: a world where it is just unacceptable for a child not to be in education,” the duchess said.
Sarah, Duchess of York is appealing to the British public to sponsor a school in Sierra Leone. The cost to build or refurbish a simple school is as little as £2,000, and donations up to £2 million will be doubled by the UK government until 21 February through the UK Aid Match scheme. School sponsors will be recognised with a plaque on the school, as well as regular updates and photos of the project. According to Sarah, Duchess of York, a donation of £15, doubled to £30, would cover school fees, a uniform and learning materials for a child for a whole year.
Street Child’s CEO Tom Dannatt, said: “It is vital that we provide children with access to education and the resources they need to learn, ensuring every child has the best chance of success. Through education we give children the skills and knowledge to build a better future. The only way to ensure tomorrow is better than today is with education.”
Donations can be made via the Street Child website.