Ending Poverty Through Education: Forging Our Future Leaders

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Education is the great equalizer. It can open the door to jobs and skills that help the next generation not just survive, but thrive. Poverty is a cycle that is extremely hard to break. If a parent can barely afford to feed their family, how are they going to be able to afford school? Or maybe, they need to keep their child out of school, because they need their child to work and help support the family. Access to high-quality education is a globally recognised solution to end the cycle of poverty, but many family’s trying to break the cycle experience barriers that make education for their kids inaccessible.

Here are 5 ways that education works to end poverty and why we’re helping the most vulnerable communities access learning:

1. Education develops skills and abilities

A quality education system supports a child in all their development needs. It promotes social interaction, emotional growth, cognitive development and communication skills. Beyond this, great education programs support the accruement of knowledge and abilities (assets) that children can use to go on to higher learning and earn higher incomes in their working years.

2. Education opens opportunities

The consequences of poverty are often also the causes. One of the consequences of poverty is access to opportunity. It is difficult to be competitive in a job market when you’re not as educated as your peers, but it is also hard to get an education when you’re fighting just to survive. Assisting poverty stricken communities access an education significantly impacts that communities access to employment opportunities. Studies have shown that the availability of skilled labor is a prime factor employers consider when planting an office or industrial complex, and these placements can change the fortunes of generations.

3. Education decreases risk and vulnerability

The lives of the extremely poor are very vulnerable to circumstance. Many are one failed food crop or one injury away from being unable to survive, and not all risks can be predicted and avoided. While a wealthy nation may survive a natural disaster or epidemic, the people in poor nations already struggling to survive day by day without these disasters. These act as “force multipliers” that increase the likelihood that poverty will continue and decrease survivability of people already in difficult positions.

But knowledge is power. Besides providing opportunity and breaking the cycle, education can safeguard against vulnerability. A refugee with access to education can more easily integrate into a new society. Or a child who has escaped armed conflict, can rebuild their social skills and overcome trauma.

4. Education increases rural productivity

Not everyone who receives an education is going to leave their community and move in to the urban workforce. But this doesn’t mean an education won’t have a positive impact on their lives. Even in rural areas, receiving an education has been shown to improve labour productivity, enriching a family and a region, and helping to replace food scarcity with food abundance.

5. Education combats inequality

In order to take advantage of opportunity you need to be recognized as equal. Unfortunately, often the most vulnerable are looked down upon, and are shunned away from opportunity even when it appears. Education grants those shunned into the corners of society representation, power, status and most importantly, a voice. Education is a basic human right that is built upon to grant other human rights and end inequality.

Education for all

Eradicating poverty is perhaps the greatest challenge humanity faces, but its a challenge that we must face and overcome together to end inequality. I believe that ensuring quality education for all and helping every individual unlock their potential, will help everyone achieve a brighter future for themselves, their community and the world. By providing people in poverty with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed, we’re not just helping people out of poverty, we’re helping people pull themselves out of poverty and the generations that follow.