Improving the lives of vulnerable children has been at the heart of what we do since 2009. Our earliest programmes tackled the root causes of child labour because we wanted children to enjoy their rights to play, grow, develop and learn in safe environments.
Our long-running partnerships with Save the Children and UNICEF focused not just on improving the quality of schools and making them more inclusive for all children, but also on maternal and child healthcare and child protection—so children would be well enough to attend school and, once there, ready to learn. Through our joint campaigns, millions of children in over 45 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Europe have enjoyed better educational opportunities.
In India and Pakistan, our programmes with Save the Children and UNICEF worked to prevent child labour in cotton-growing communities, reaching millions of children. Together, we helped change attitudes so that children’s rights were respected and they could continue their education.
At the same time, we saw how families need sustainable incomes for their children to stay in school—otherwise, children are forced to become earners, not learners.
Because agriculture is the biggest source of income in impoverished rural communities, we are now investing more in partners that help people improve their incomes through agriculture. One Acre Fund, for example, equips farmers in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda with resources, such as improved seeds, training on how to adapt to climate change, and solar lights, which also illuminate homes so children can do their homework. These measures enable families to maintain a nutritious diet and sustainable incomes.
My kids have no health problems now. They are healthy and well.Angelique, farmer
Since Angelique joined One Acre Fund, the 33-year-old farmer in Rwanda has learned more about planting and keeping the soil healthy and fertile, so her production has improved. Now she always has vegetables to feed her four children and sells surpluses at the market. Her earnings have allowed her to buy a cow that provides their milk, a solar home system and additional land for farming and on which to expand the family’s home.
“Before we could struggle to find something to eat in the evening, but now we get two meals per day as it should be,” she explains. “My kids have no health problems now. They are healthy and well.”
Angelique and her husband, also a farmer, have experienced how productivity in one area can lead to prosperity in another.
“As long we are acquiring more land, we have more harvests and then can pay for our children’s education,” she says.