It's an exciting time for us at Anonymous Child - we're up and running and can finally get down to doing our real work!
Setting up a charity is no easy undertaking, even for those with the commitment and passion it takes to carry the vision forward. Often the most challenging task is deciding which area to concentrate efforts and limited funds in a world full of imbalance, injustice, and deserving causes. Our goal is to improve access to quality education for the less fortunate children and young members of our global community.
A common question we've faced through the process has been some variation of "why education and why those children?". The answer seemed obvious to us. Why those children? is simple. It is difficult to find people more deserving than vulnerable children, who have no control over the circumstances they are born into and, more unnervingly, are powerless to guide their futures out of the disadvantage that shackles them without the assistance and encouragement of people who care. We have a collective social responsibility to stand together and unite efforts to better the lives and futures of those in greater need, especially powerless young people. It is all too easy to turn a blind eye to matters that don't affect us or, perhaps, we're not confronted with in our everyday lives but, while ignorance may be bliss, it's not an excuse.
And as to why education?...where should we start?
Education has been declared a fundamental human right time and time again and, in the words of UNESCO, "promotes individual freedom and empowerment and yields important development benefits". It has the power to arm the younger generations with the tools needed to lift themselves out of poverty and, ultimately, break the vicious cycle of poverty itself. It enables communities to self-nurture, develop and sustain, which supports long-term progress and helps to redress social inequality. But education as a means to address poverty is often self-defeating: the fact is that education remains just a fantasy to far too many on the social and economic fringes of society.
That's not to say there aren't great global commitments to realise the right to education: it has been the focus of many internationally agreed agendas and global commitments. At the turn of the millennium, not only were universal primary education and gender equality two of eight Millennium Development Goals, but Education for All was also pledged by almost 170 governments and aimed at meeting the learning needs of all. While tremendous progress was reported, the MDGs and Education for All were not achieved by the 2015 target and the importance of education was restated in the adoption of the UN-lead Sustainable Development Goals and declared the main driver of development and achieving the other 16 SDGs by the 2030 target.
Research shows that national resources are not enough to reach SDG targets by 2030 and estimate that external assistance will need to increase by at least four times. But only 2% of humanitarian aid is applied towards the education sector, of which a significant proportion is dedicated to increasing enrolment to basic education. Increasing enrolment rates does not necessarily translate to successful completion of an adequate education program and the provision of only basic education is simply not enough to achieve the long-term impact and benefits we strive for. Humanitarian aid efforts asides, education is also vastly under-served by charitable endeavours aimed at relieving poverty, which tend to prioritise the provision of immediate life-saving aid at times of conflict, disaster and famine.
We at Anonymous Child want to give education the attention it deserves. We want to contribute to and facilitate the success of the SDGs and have the passion, dedication and vision to make a difference. We believe that all children and young people should be given a fair chance to succeed in life, irrespective of their social and economic background. We think that giving children the opportunity to learn will encourage hope and aspiration, and empower them to pull themselves and their future generations out of poverty and the unthinkable realities it brings.
And this makes us all the more prouder to announce our first sponsorship partnership with Bahay Tuluyan, a children's rights organisation in the Philippines which focuses its energy on preventing and responding to the abuse and exploitation of Filipino children. We have launched the Bahay Tuluyan - Anonymous Child Scholarship Program with the aim of financing the university tuition and expenses of at least 10 (and, with your help, hopefully many more) members of various Bahay programs. All the young people we will be supporting have experienced troubled and deprived upbringings: orphans and street kids, children that have been abused and commercially or sexually exploited.