What we’re doing
Despite the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UNICEF remains committed to addressing and improving education access, quality and coordination. Funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery has been essential to providing quality and timely education interventions to approximately 120,000 children.
Reflecting on her experience of learning from home during the pandemic, Bénédicte, a student who lives in Kinshasa in the DRC, said: “I was afraid that it would be a wasted year, but I followed the distance learning courses every day to keep my hopes up.”
Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery has also significantly contributed to UNICEF’s refugee response in Uganda. Over the past four years, the focus has been on supporting the learning of both refugee children and children from host communities during early years and adolescence. Through the partnership, nearly 400,000 children have accessed learning in Uganda.
Martin, a 16-year-old boy from South Sudan, stopped going to school in Primary 5 and in 2020 joined the Yoyo centre attached to the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement to study carpentry. He describes his time in the vocational school as a worthwhile investment and said: “As the firstborn, I have the responsibility of looking after my siblings and ensuring that they don’t drop out of school like I did.” He hopes to lead by example in emphasising the importance of education by returning to school.
In the UK
Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, through the Rights Respecting Schools Award, children in the UK are learning about their rights in a safe, inspiring and nurturing environment. Over 1.6 million children in the UK go to a Rights Respecting School and 5,000 schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are working towards the Award.
Looking back on 2020: How children’s rights shaped the work of a Rights Respecting school during Coronavirus
Children are particularly vulnerable to feelings of powerlessness. By involving pupils in managing changes to school life, children can take ownership of those changes. In one school, because some children were in school consistently throughout lockdown while staff were on a rota, they became the experts in the new school routine and helped to guide the adults through it.
One teacher from a Rights Respecting School said:
“The children sort of designed the provision and what we found was that children were in more than the staff […] so the children were the leaders of the, you know, ‘this is what we do’.