This year the funds that have been raised by the Barrett & Coe Franchisees have been put towards further education for the children that Love A Child Foundation support. Founder John Margetson (pictured below) explains the difference these donations have made during 2012:
When l first started the foundation l was deeply conscious of the plight of the children we supported. Most had poor clothes, often no shoes, little to eat and terrible living accommodation. The Asian children were exploited, often starting work as young as eight but at least this was not quite as bad as Ecuadorian children, who tend to be abused rather than exploited. As time went by l came to realise that the most important thing for all these children was education, because only through education could the next generation be lifted out of these terrible conditions. We therefore started to place more priority on schooling and particularly further education.
When we began our sponsorship, ten years ago, of the poor and orphaned Tibetan refugee children at The Bon Children’s Home near the Tibetan Menri Monastery, in Dolanji, Northern India most of the children were at the primary school built next to the home by the Indian Government. At that time the children were only taught up to eighth grade (12 years old) and had to move on to the local high school in the main town of Solan to continue their education, which had to be paid for. Luckily the school in Dolanji has now been upgraded to twelfth grade (18 years old); so thank goodness there is no outlay for secondary education.
However with the size of the Bon Children’s Home having increased from 180 to nearly 300 and many more children now completing their education at eighteen and wanting to go on to further education, there is a big funding gap. Several years ago we set up a second sponsorship scheme for children going on to further education; however this nowhere near covers the cost of a child going to University or Technical college, therefore part of our general funds raised through the Barrett & Coe Franchisees goes towards some of these cost for the Tibetans.
In many ways the Tibetans are lucky as the monastery is very aware of the importance of education. The Burmese children on the other hand are far less fortunate. Many children never go to school, some children start work as young as eight in coffee shops and their elders often work in the docks in Yangon from the age of twelve. The state education system is poor to say the least with the only possibility of a reasonable education at a monastic school.
However up until recently, since the orange revolution by the monks in 2009, there has been constant sniping by the junta at monastic education, which hopefully with the new government is now changing. However the opportunities to continue to go on to higher education is minimal, partly because families expect children of sixteen onwards to go to work and aid the family coffers. University education by western standards is not great but at least there is an opportunity and this is what we try to foster through The Mandalay Students Fund, which gives funds to help children from Phaung Daw Oo Monastic Home and School continue their education.
The funds for each child from the Mandalay Student Fund sponsors goes specifically to the family; so that the pressure to send the child out to work is partially removed, the rest of the money helps towards the cost of text books etc. However again these funds do not cover the real costs of going to University and therefore money from our general fund helps to supplement these costs for the student.
Click here for more information on the charity
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