Although it is a law that children must attend primary through upper secondary school, the law is almost impossible to enforce. Along the coast, during the dry months, parents pull their children from school to live together and help with fishing - their main avenue of income and food; in smaller villages children may be required to work on the farms; in larger towns the children have more freedom to go where they please.
According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics' 2015 global database, the net attendance rate for Sierra Leone children was:
76% attendance in primary school
36% attendance in lower secondary school
22% attendance in upper secondary school
We can compare this to an average 96% primary school attendance rate in the U.S. from the World Bank 2016 database.
Since their devastating eleven year civil war, the country has taken steps to improve education. In a report by the Global Partnership for Education, in 2000 with literacy rates at an all-time low, the government began to spend 14% of its national budget on education, with half of that figure going to primary education. According to UNESCO's statistics, in 2000 the percent per GDP spent on education was at an all time high of 4.95% and by 2016 it dropped to 2.91% of GDP. This spike did help to increase the literacy rates by 1%, rising to 57% in 2013, of children aged 15-24.
This is still extremely low.
There is more work to be done and the Pikin Project wants to help.
Raise awareness of the current educational standards in Sierra Leone.
Improve upon the quality of education for children in primary through secondary school.
Benefit and support the local communities surrounding these schools; buying and hiring local.
Most schools don't have enough textbooks, so four to five children will share one book. Classrooms are lacking in supplies and children are squished together on old benches and small desks.
The Pikin Project finds a school that has been neglected and puts in the time, effort, and finances necessary to increase the quality of education for the children. We provide the supplies to learn and to improve upon the facilities.
Within the communities are markets and storefronts where school supplies are sold, uniforms are hemmed, and desks are built. These are the parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings of the children who we aim to help.
This is why all the materials and hired work is from local vendors and craftsmen only. We do this with the intention of benefiting the communities surrounding these schools, hoping to bring more opportunity for the children's futures.
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