Helping children realise their full potential
September 8 is International Literacy Day, which aims to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. NRS International has long been committed to improving access to education for those children most in need around the world. We take a two pronged approach and focus on innovation and product development to tackle this issue, whilst simultaneously taking action through our charitable foundation. This blog looks at some examples of where we are making a difference to literacy among the most vulnerable segments of society.
The number out of school continues to grow
Whilst great strides have been met to eradicate illiteracy globally, some 775 million adults still lack minimum literacy skills. According to a recent UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) report, the number of children and adolescents out of school is growing, and now totals 263 million primary, lower, and upper secondary age youth. Many factors contribute to limiting access to school, including such as poverty, poor health, culture and gender. However, one of the biggest barriers to education is displacement caused by conflict and natural disasters .
Tackling the effects of the Syrian war
Further UIS data powerfully illustrates the devastating impact of war. Examining the ongoing Syrian crisis, it was found that before the conflict nearly every child was enrolled in primary school. However by the end of 2013, about 1.8 million children and adolescents were out of school and not receiving any form of education. The consequences of war are clear to see, with it taking just two short years to wipe out all education progress made since the start of the century.
To help in the response to this crisis, NRS International recently joined the Global Business Coalition for Education‘s list of private companies that together have committed more than USD50 million to support the education of Syrian refugee children.
As a member, NRS International is donating multi-purpose tents that can be used as schoolrooms. One such tent, the Huggy, has been designed specifically to act as a child-friendly space. Its high ceilings, over-sized windows and great ventilation make it a great classroom, and it comes in a variety of sizes to suit any requirement. The tent is also safe. All materials used are fully fire retardant, and the tent can withstand extreme temperatures and desert storms.
Helping children rebuild their lives in Ecuador
Our Huggy tents have also recently made a difference to children in Ecuador. In April this year, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the west coast of northern Ecuador, killing more than 500 people. The Manabi province was particularly badly hit. Our subsidiary NRS Relief dispatched 30 Huggy tents to the region for its customer Plan International, the child rights organisation that aims to help children realise their full potential by alleviating child poverty.
The tents were distributed to various cities in the region, and hosted ‘Intelligence Factories’. In these child-friendly spaces, girls, boys and adolescents can relax and take part in sports, music, art and other playful activities. The children, often from the most marginalised and excluded groups, were given a much need sanctuary from their recent traumas, helping them regain a sense of normality.
Promoting education in Pakistan
Pakistan has long struggled to increase school enrollment and approximately 140 million children are out of school. According to A World at School, militants have destroyed thousands of school buildings, have taken the lives of hundreds of teachers and students, and have denied the right to education to thousands more. As a result, only 87% of Pakistani children finish primary school.
In the face of these difficulties, our Pakistan-based, family-run charity, the Bilqees Sarwar Foundation (BSF), has committed to give children opportunities to attain a quality education. Over the past two years it has offered dozens of scholarships to the Customs Public School and Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust School in the local Lahore community. Further afield, BSF has supported children at its Camp of Hope in Syria by providing back-to-school kits, giving them a good start to the academic year.
We continue to develop and manufacture the core relief items and aid essentials that are needed to help those in need during difficult times. By serving our customers to the best of our ability, and forging new partnerships, we can together help children realise their full potential.