We can all agree that education comes high on our list of prized possessions. It’s a fundamental human right that can completely transform a life, but, unfortunately many people don’t have the chance to attend school or college especially in developing countries such as Africa. Take Ghana for example where school attendance drops from 100% in primary to 40% in secondary, simply because all secondary education in Ghana is fee paying. It’s not a question of wanting to continue in school, it’s simply a matter of not being able to afford to.
A lack of education results in poor public health, malnutrition, high unemployment and the poverty cycle continues. So what can be done and how can we help? Enter Alma Mater Education, a charity set up specifically to support the most vulnerable people that exist on less that US$2 a day, read on to find more about the charity, why it’s different and how you can help literally build the school by buying bricks!
What does Alma Mater Education do?
Alma Mater Education creates sustainable schools that fund themselves. 50% of pupils are offered full Alma Mater Scholarships and 50% pay normal market rate fees. Scholarship students are from the most impoverished backgrounds surviving on less that US$2 a day and under ordinairy circumstances would have no way of obtaining an education. The curriculum combines formal education and agricultural learning so that students can receive an academic education while learning to improve rural living for the future.
The innovative model is called a ‘Business NGO’ and it is incredibly efficient. It means that Alma Mater Education only requires ‘seed capital’ for the construction and setup costs of each school instead of large annual running costs that trouble many NGOs. It’s a model that has the financial efficiency of a business with a charitable mandate of educating impoverished children. This enables the schools to become financially self-sufficient so that no further fundraising is needed.
Why this issue and why Ghana?
Ghana is a politically stable and resource-rich country that has huge potential to be a model for success in Africa. However the lack of education available to Ghanaian children makes it impossible for them to escape poverty regardless of how hard they try. Malnutrition is overwhelmingly high, unemployment is staggering and the opportunities for uneducated Ghanaians, next to none. Due to the lack of schools, especially in rural areas, many are oversubscribed and hugely under-resourced, so even those who are lucky enough to be able to afford an education, do so in difficult circumstances. Ghana is just the beginning however as the Alma Mater Education team believes that this sustainable business NGO model can be replicated in developing countries all over the world.
What’s happening now?
The first ‘Business NGO’ school is opening September 2015 in Wioso, Ghana, and once complete will cater to 480 local children, 240 of which will be scholarship students. The Wioso school project is working with a Ghanaian Agricultural University to set up a farm to feed the students and give them the agricultural training that will increase rural employment and local food security. The aim is to have twenty schools like this up and running by 2030 initially funding each school setup with ‘seed capital’ before they become self sustaining.
What can you do to help?
To sponsor a brick, tree, plaque with your name on it, a child for a year or an entire classroom check out their Indiogogo Campaign. You can also show your support by checking out their website, Facebook Page and following them on Twitter to help spread the word! Get involved in their #Sport2Support campaign, which invited people to sign up to a sporting event of their choice. Be it a 5k, marathon, yoga class or hike, wherever you are in the world, you can get active and fundraise for this fantastic cause. Or you can click here to donate via their website or contact them for further information here!