The George Oliver Foundation provided funding to War Child to secure a further four months of education for 54 girls in southern Iraq.
In 2011 we funded a new education project in southern Iraq enabling 54 girls with no access to education of any kind to take part in essential literacy and life skills lessons. Facilitating the classes for a further 4 months then gave the girls the opportunity to continue to develop their literacy and life-skills.
The skills that the girls gained through the classes are valuable and provide many long-term benefits. The classes have supported the long-term aim of securing places for some of the girls in local schools funded by the United Nations Development Programme.
Part of War Child’s work in this same area has also been to set up two Child Protection Committees. These organisations are used to help local adults to identify risks faced by children and to support them in identifying solutions. These risks include early and forced marriage, isolation and lack of access to education.
Girls in southern Iraq have limited opportunities to access education, with many parents unwilling to allow them to attend school for a number of reasons. These include safety concerns due to the volatility of the local security situation, the long distances needed to travel to reach a school and the need for girls to help at home.
As a result illiteracy rates among adolescent girls in the region remain worryingly high. A recent study found that fewer than 50% of women aged 15-24 in rural areas were literate compared with 72-80% literacy in more urban areas.
It has been found that households with illiterate mothers have higher incidence of disease than those households where a mother can read and a recent study reported that “children of mothers with no education were almost three times as likely to be in the child labour force”. Being illiterate severely limits employment opportunities and the potential for participation in many spheres of public life, leaving many girls very isolated and with limited prospects for the future.
We are very glad to have supported War Child’s important work in this area of great need.
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About War Child -
War Child work to support the most vulnerable children in the world's most dangerous war zones. They are currently running ground-breaking support projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, D.R. Congo and Uganda. Much of their work is with former child soldiers, children living on the streets, children put in prison and girls at risk of rape or violence.
War Child's mission is "to support and strengthen the protective environment for children who, as a result of conflict, live with a combination of insecurity, poverty and exclusion."
War Child UK has been working in Iraq since 2003 and are one of the few international Non-Governmental Organisations offering child protection. Their work in Iraq is currently focused on three of the most disadvantaged groups - Marsh Arabs, Bedouin and Internally Displaced Communities, working to increase education opportunities and promote child protection and rights.
War Child's aim is to increase the very low school attendance rates in the South by helping children access schools by providing - alternatives for child labourers, livelihood grants for children and families, school uniforms and materials. They are also working to improve the quality of classrooms and playgrounds and targeting the Ministry of Education to improve teaching standards as well as working with communities to raise awareness of the importance of education.