"Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people's curiosity. It is enough to open minds, do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff, it will catch fire."
- The provision of a worthwhile and meaningful education for students within the programme. An understanding that education can be an important catalyst for change and empowerment, especially for individuals facing severe poverty and hardship.
- The supply of education, as a basic right, to those students within the programme. A focus on this right to an education means the provision of other basic human rights such as shelter, water, food, medicine and warmth to ensure the opportunity for learning is maximised. With provision of basic needs, ACE recognises that the right to education means more than just money for schooling, but necessiatates a holistic approach to every aspect of the students well being.
ACE Background and Start-up
- The programme eventuated by chance through a group of young people who were volunteering in Arusha, Tanzania, 2010. They saw that the education needs of many children in the area were not being met, and were driven to action.
- It became evident very quickly that there was no structure to ensure the children attended school or had any of the necessities that allowed them to do so. Although some children had a parent or guardian, many were also in violent or exploitive environments. The group of volunteers who identified these problems felt the best opportunity for the students identified as needing help was to provide them with access to a good education. The aim was for a long-term solution which would enable the students to have hope for a worthwhile future of contribution to their community and society in general, as opposed to providing short term aid which would only foster dependence.
- The children the volunteers came in to contact with and formed relationships with all came primarily from a specific ‘orphanage’ whose proprietor was using the term very loosely in order to access aid funds, and whom also had an arrangement with a school close by that gave him kickbacks on sponsored children’s fees. The poverty of the children and the willingness of donors to help were being used in a way that was not in the best interests of the children.
- It became clear that if the volunteers wanted to continue to provide for the children, some form of central administration would be needed in order to ensure that donated sponsorship funds were fairly and genuinely allocated for the purpose they had been given. The establishment of ACE provided this support, and meant that the children’s living situations could be monitored and the personal circumstances of each child assessed as they progressed.
- ACE supports the widely acknowledged belief that education is a basic human right. Fulfilling the right to education means ensuring that all students are in a condition to learn effectively. This includes being able to attend school safely, monitoring the quality of the schooling and its appropriateness for each individual, and committing to each students long-term welfare and progress. Affirming the right to an education brings each student one step closer to stepping outside the[A1] conditions of poverty they have grown up with.
- Basic rights such as shelter, warmth, nutritious and adequate food, drinkable water, medical and dentistry health, and social well-being and pastoral care are essential components to affirming the right to an education, as these conditions enable each student to maximise their learning potential, and then apply that learning in such a way as to ensure genuine contribution to future family and community life within the framework of local cultures and customs.
- ACE commits to fulfilling the right to an education of its sponsored students in a way that is reliable and sustainable, and is committed to spending donor’s money ONLY to further this end. This means saying ‘no’ to requests for unrelated financial assistance from students extended families, and also saying ‘no’ to the requests of donors to assist in ways outside the scope of ACE’s mandate. ACE is developing good systems and practices to address the goals and targets that have been specified, and donations should therefore be directed and managed to best benefit the students outcomes within these practices.
- It is key that each student takes ownership of their own educational opportunity. Each student is encouraged to recognise the commitment of the sponsors, and to reciprocate that commitment with a genuine intent to completing their education to the best of their ability. A pastoral care programme that encourages this behaviour by all students is key to the learning opportunity.
ACE Obligations and Fulfilment of Goals
- Align individual students with appropriate committed sponsors, so that each student has the possibility, centrally administered by ACE, to know that their full schooling requirement is covered for the duration of their schooling tenure.
- Monitor and evaluate bi-annually the progress and achievement of each student to ensure goals are being met. Assess needs and assist in the cases where progress is needed for achievement.
- Provide holistic assistance as necessary, with support around personal growth, personal hygeine, personal health, social adaption and community awareness, to facilitiate learning in an appropriate manner and environment.
ACE Project Targets
These targets reflect our commitment to the implementation of sustainable practices to ensure long-term programme success.
- Small targeted numbers (Maximum 100 children. Current roll as at 2017 is 69 students, spread across Primary, Secondary and vocational schools.
- Local Support and Contribution. Having local employees is crucial to the success of the programme. The ability to communicate and liaise with schools, parents, communities and business is paramount to achieve reasonable budgetary levels, and also in understanding and accommodating local customs and cultures. It generates a high level of trust between all parties, as well as contributing back to the community through salaries and purchasing of all school equipment, clothing etc.
- Ensuring that the schools utilised within the programme have a recognisable and measured curriculum, with quantifiable results, qualified teachers, reasonable classroom sizes, and identifiable goals and programmes in place.
- Ensuring that each student has access to nutritious food, drinkable water, warmth and shelter, which in turn allows for better learning.
- Ensuring each student has a safe place to return to either at night, or during the holidays if boarding.
- Ensuring that each student has the opportunity to experience wider community learning and responsibility, through a community pastoral care programme.
- Establishing a regular health monitoring programme for all students.