Education for the Poor
Empowering children to escape poverty and pursue a brighter future

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While families work hard to achieve their goals in developing countries, many find it a struggle just to provide for the basic needs of their children. For families like these, committing limited resources to educational expenses can become a low priority. The costs of required uniforms, books and school fees are simply more than they can afford, so they give up on the idea of sending their sons and daughters to school, leaving those children to become involved in manual labor or other unskilled work. Only through quality education can the children hope to escape their circumstances and pursue a better life.

39% of the worldwide poor have no formal education.

While it is true that primary school enrollment and literacy around the world have both increased dramatically over the past 25 years, it is a fact that among the poor, four out of every 10 have no formal education. Among girls, the statistics are even more startling. Fifteen million girls of primary-school age will never get the chance to learn to read or write in primary school; the same goes for about 10 million boys. As Catholics, we have a duty to reach out to these children and let them know that they have a right to receive an education that will help them break free from poverty.

Read on to learn more about the importance of education and how you can help create a brighter future for all!

Quick Facts

In 2014, 61 million children of primary-school age were not enrolled in school.

52% of children worldwide not attending school are female.

39% of the worldwide poor have no formal education at all.

Only 49% of secondary school-age children actually attend school.

15 million girls of primary-school age will never have the opportunity to learn to read and write in primary school.

47% of the 32 million girls who were out of school in 2014 are expected to never go to school, compared with 35% of the 29 million boys.

One in six children in low or middle-income countries will not complete primary school in 2015.

Sources: The World Bank 2016, UNDP 2016, UNESCO 2015, 2016, 2017

In Kenya’s Huruma slum, most of the children are not in school. Instead, they desperately wander the neighborhood in search of food or some way to sustain themselves.

The Problem

Education Remains Out of Reach

Ask a Catholic missionary, “What is the best way to fight poverty?” and nine out of ten times you’ll get the answer: Educate the children. Unfortunately, that goal remains out of reach for many of the world’s poor, and the missions established to serve them lack the resources needed to change the situation.

In most developing countries where a great percentage of the population lives below the poverty line, attending school is a luxury. Even the government-sponsored “free” schools have many hidden costs the poor simply cannot afford. They require students to wear uniforms and come with school supplies — an impossible burden for the poorest families. Then there is the problem of access. Children from rural environments are required to travel great distances to reach even a basic school. Faced with this hurdle, many parents simply choose to leave their children at home.

For those children fortunate enough to have received a primary-school education, attending secondary school is even more challenging. Secondary schools in developing countries are underfunded, overcrowded and inaccessible to most poor children. Without help, many children never reach the full potential God intended for them.

In Santa Rosa, Guatemala, Umbelina takes a personal interest in her son José’s education. She is largely responsible for the boy’s miraculous development as a student.

The Answer to the Education Crisis

The Church

Thanks to dedicated priests, religious sister and Catholic educators, the most remote and poverty-stricken regions of the world are achieving incredibly positive results in the area of education. Their overall school strategy — to provide quality education, nutritional meals and Catholic spiritual formation — is working. By empowering Catholic educational missions, you play an important role in bringing about lasting, positive changes in individuals, families and communities.

Kobonal Haiti Mission, one of Cross Catholic Outreach’s partners in Haiti, bridges the education gap many Haitians face after grade six by offering a scholarship program to secondary -school-aged children.

Defeat Poverty Through Quality Education

Securing a quality education is critical to families in developing countries seeking a path out of poverty. Their future success depends upon it. At Cross Catholic Outreach, we believe in raising up and empowering the next generation of Catholic leaders in the developing world. Our ministry partners share this goal, and they are equally dedicated to helping the poor through scholarship programs, the building of Catholic schools, and by enabling boys and girls to attend schools and learn.

Ensuring Education for All

Featured Partner: Kobonal Haiti Mission

One of our ministry partners in Haiti, Kobonal Haiti Mission, plays an important role in the lives of the community’s children, strengthening their faith and providing them with an education they would never receive if it wasn’t for generous donors like you. Kobonal offers two projects that provide educational support for children. The Kobonal Mission School provides food for the children, salaries for the teachers and staff, equipment, and supplies. The Kobonal scholarship program is a great way to support children who graduate from the Kobonal Mission’s primary school, but who lack the resources to continue their education.

Students at the Kobonal Haiti Mission school

Kobonal Mission School

The Kobonal Mission School, which has two campuses (K-6), serves poor Haitian children living in small villages throughout the Central Plateau. The students are provided with everything they need, including books, uniforms, shoes and backpacks. In return, a small tuition is paid by those who can afford it, while the poorest families pay nothing. Students are also given breakfast and a hot lunch every day. Kobonal Mission School has a wonderful academic reputation. Nearly 500 of its schoolchildren have earned scholarships to secondary schools and universities.

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Father Glenn Meaux and a scholarship recipient at the Kobonal Haiti Mission

Kobonal Scholarships

Children who graduate from the Kobonal Haiti Mission’s primary school often lack the resources to continue their education. Their families struggle just to put food on the table, let alone cover the cost of books, uniforms, etc. Your help is needed to fill this potentially devastating gap! Your generous gift will provide a scholarship for a needy but hardworking student to enroll in a Catholic secondary school. With this scholarship, he or she can begin to break the cycle of poverty.

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Featured Partner: Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima, Guatemala

In Guatemala, education is a path out of poverty. Guatemalans have been plagued by political instability, natural disasters and a lack of economic opportunities. A robust education could help poor young people escape these conditions, but many parents cannot afford the basic expenses of sending their children to school. Desperate to improve their situations, some young people resort to crime or illegally flee their homeland in search of a better life.

Responding to this need, Father Raúl Monterroso of the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima in southern Guatemala developed a scholarship program to cover all school-related expenses for needy children and youth. In addition to this scholarship program, Fr. Raúl recently spearheaded a drive to build a new Catholic school for the diocese. It is currently under construction and will be ready to open in 2021.

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Remigio, a scholarship beneficiary in the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima in Guatemala

Santa Rosa Scholarships

Most families in Santa Rosa cannot afford to send their children to school, so they take them out of the classroom even though they believe education provides the best path out of poverty. Fr. Raúl knows that with a little help, these impoverished young men and women could become capable leaders. For this reason, the diocese has started a scholarship program covering the cost of tuition, uniforms and school supplies. For those who are hungry, they also provide daily breakfasts. All children like Remigio (pictured above) need is help from generous donors like you.

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A crowded school in the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima in Guatemala

Santa Rosa Catholic School

This is the typical atmosphere in a Santa Rosa secondary school classroom — cramped, unfocused and overcrowded. Soon these children will benefit from a new Catholic school, funded in part from donors like you. After walking miles to school, hundreds of schoolchildren squeeze into an overcrowded secondary school classroom. Still, the children come — because there is no other option. Fr. Raúl wanted more for these students, so much so that he came to Cross Catholic Outreach with a vision to construct a beautiful, well-equipped Catholic school. You helped initiate the construction of a 200-student-capacity, 14-classroom Catholic school and a 2,000-person-capacity multipurpose facility. It is currently under construction and will be ready for students in 2021.

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Give a Gift That Will Change Lives

Education is a crucial tool in the fight against poverty. Your generous support will help fill critical funding gaps and meet the most urgent needs of the academic programs we fund, so that vulnerable boys and girls will be empowered for a brighter future.

Through transformative programs such as Kobonal and Santa Rosa, the Church can be a source of hope in impoverished communities, demonstrating God’s love and revealing his Word to the next generation.

How We Help the Poor

Monthly Giving: Have a Greater Impact

When you pledge monthly support, you are joining a community of monthly givers who believe that together, in love and faith, we can change the world. Monthly gifts come in all sizes. Even very modest amounts are a great blessing because they come in steadily, empowering our ministry to respond to urgent needs as they arise.

What are the problems of education in developing countries?

Here are 10 of the greatest challenges in global education that the world needs to take action on right now to achieve Global Goal 4: Quality Education by 2030.

1. A lack of funding for education
2. Having no teacher, or having an untrained teacher
3. No classroom
4. A lack of learning materials
5. The exclusion of children with disabilities
6. Being the “wrong” gender
7. Living in a country in conflict or at risk of conflict
8. Distance from home to school
9. Hunger and poor nutrition
10. The expense of education

How can we fix education in developing countries?

Experts believe that the focus of the educational system in developing countries need not only to bring more children into school but also to improve the quality of the educational system itself. Here are five ways to improve education in developing countries:

  1. Reduce the cost of education
  2. School lunch programs
  3. Educating parents
  4. A new educational model combining traditional content with practical skills
  5. Improved resources for teachers

How does education help the poor?

According to the UNESCO Gem Report 2016 and the Learning Generation Report, there are five ways education can help end extreme poverty:

  1. Education reduces poverty
  2. Education increases individual earnings
  3. Education reduces economic inequalities
  4. Education promotes economic growth
  5. Education helps save the planet

Answer the Call

Learn how you can engage in projects serving the poor and their communities around the world.

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Cross Catholic Outreach

Our mission is to mobilize the global Catholic Church to transform the poor and their communities materially and spiritually for the glory of Jesus Christ. Your gift empowers us to serve the poorest of the poor by channeling life-changing aid through an international network of dioceses, parishes and Catholic missionaries. This cost-effective approach helps break the cycle of poverty and advance Catholic evangelization.

Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2021, the close of our ministry’s new fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.