WASHINGTON, (January 24, 2023) -- Abebech is a 41-year-old mother of two. When Abebech began participating in SOS Children’s Villages’ EduCare program just three years ago, she could barely afford to put food on the table and her children had to drop out of school in order to work. Today, her children regularly attend school, and she earns a stable income as a small business owner.
The first EduCare program was launched in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia by SOS Children’s Villages USA in 2014 with the support of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. EduCare reduces school dropout rates by empowering vulnerable children to achieve their full potential through quality education. It builds more inclusive and resilient societies through family strengthening, livelihood assistance, and the enhanced capacity of communities to protect and care for children. On average, 99% of children who participate in the program remain in school and continue their education.
Through sustainable partnerships with community-based organizations, health centers, local governments, and the private sector, EduCare strengthens the network of social support services available for vulnerable children and families. Today, EduCare is a global program of SOS Children’s Villages that has expanded to Somaliland, Rwanda, and Tanzania.
As the world’s largest organization supporting children without parental care and those who risk losing it, SOS Children’s Villages recognizes that education is more than just knowledge. It is a fundamental human right and opportunity for a brighter future. Access to quality education enables children to develop into productive, autonomous adults and provides individuals with the tools to break the cycles of family separation and poverty.
A recent study by the Ministry of Education in Ethiopia indicates that more than 13.3 million children do not attend school across the country. Poverty is one of the leading factors contributing to the high dropout rate. “The families of vulnerable children and youth oftentimes live in such extreme poverty that paying for school, uniforms, and supplies is a luxury they cannot afford,” said Sahlemariam Abebe, Acting National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Ethiopia. “This financial strain forces children to forgo schooling in order to work and financially help their families. Child labor—at its worst—can lead to prostitution and other forms of exploitation.” The EduCare program allows families to become more stable, which leads to lower dropout rates for children.
EduCare implements scalable, evidence-based solutions to improve outcomes for participants. In Ethiopia, EduCare has received more than $16M USD in funding and has been adapted and brought to scale in six cities across the country. The program has impacted more than 68,200 people with its data-driven approach and set of holistic interventions. Through collaborative partnerships with 21 primary schools, Ethiopia’s EduCare program has enhanced the quality of education for 36,000 students and enabled 7,500 students at high risk of dropping out to remain in school and complete their education. The program has delivered training and skills development for 1,500 teachers and school administrators and has increased the economic security of more than 5,800 caregivers like Abebech.
Jill Nosach, Chief Executive Officer of SOS Children’s Villages USA, states: “SOS Children’s Villages believes that education and economic empowerment are essential to disrupting the intergenerational transmission of poverty and family dissolution. EduCare builds self-reliance and paves a path for children, families, and communities to maintain long-term success. We know this can only be accomplished through sustained investment and strategic partnerships and are proud to be a part of this innovative program that creates real change in the lives of children and families.”
EduCare has been adapted and brought to scale to address critical needs among numerous target groups. With each new iteration of the program, SOS Children’s Villages refines its strategies to amplify impact and promote long-term sustainable development.
About SOS Children's Villages
Established in 1949, SOS Children’s Villages is the world’s largest organization focused on ensuring that children without parental care—or who are at risk of losing it—grow up with the holistic support they need to become their strongest selves. SOS Children’s Villages strengthens families so they can stay together, provides loving homes for children who lack parental care, educates and empowers children to reach their full potential, and advocates for children’s rights. Each year, SOS Children’s Villages helps more than one million children and families in 138 countries and territories around the world.
About the Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning its active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $3.5 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes.