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Girls read a book together in the Dominican Republic


With access to education, children can break the cycle of poverty and girls can transform their futures

All children deserve the chance to thrive. Having access to education is crucial for every child as they grow and develop, and education is one of the most powerful tools in breaking the cycle of poverty. But around the world, millions of children are still missing out on the chance to go to school.

Poverty, hunger and disasters all keep children out of the classroom – and girls are the worst affected. Increased domestic work, the risk of gender-based violence, child marriage, pregnancy and childbirth can all impact girls, keeping them away from school and preventing them from achieving their potential and realising their dreams.

That’s why we’re working with children and their communities around the world to make sure every child has access to the education they need. From building schools and training teachers to setting up temporary learning spaces after a disaster and making sure girls know their rights, we’re helping children to stay in education and build a brighter future.

263 million childrenadolescents and youth are out of school worldwide

Children with a disabilityare 10 times less likely to attend school than children without a disability

13 million girlsare out of school because of conflict and disaster

A girl stands with her mother in Zambia
In Zambia, Plan International’s school feeding programme is helping to prevent malnutrition and make sure children can concentrate in class.

‘By the time I get to class, I am so hungry’

In Zambia, Bertha’s family can only afford one meal a day, so they choose dinner. “By the time I get to class, I am so hungry. By lunch time my stomach starts to hurt,” Bertha explains.

Going hungry isn’t only affecting the children’s ability to concentrate. Some children are dropping out of school altogether.

“The situation is worse for girls,” says Mrs. Mulenga, a headteacher in one of the schools affected by the deepening food crisis. “They are usually the ones sent out to look for food, water and to take up casual jobs.”

Giving children the chance to reach their potential

Photo of a girl standing in front of a fence

‘I want to become an English teacher’

Nadira* is one of tens of thousands of refugees living in Jordan, having fled the civil war in Syria. “We escaped hidden inside a truck,” she explains. “I miss my school and my friends. I dream of seeing my best friends again.” 

For girls growing up in crisis, their education is often put at risk – but Nadira is continuing to study and has her own dreams for the future. “I want to become an English teacher. My own teacher motivates me by being so supportive,” she says. “I am the best in my class, which makes me want to practice harder.”

*Name has been changed to protect identity

A girl smiles
In Sierra Leone, Theresa has benefitted from the Girls' Education Challenge programme

Our work around the world

  • 6,500 girls and children with disabilities in Sierra Leone are being supported to reach their potential through our Girls’ Education Challenge fund
  • More than 242,600 children have improved access to and quality of education through our award-winning partnership with Credit Suisse
  • 16 schools in Mozambique have received temporary learning spaces to enable children to go back to school after Cyclone Idai
  • 3,005 children in north-east Nigeria who had dropped out of school as a result of conflict have been enrolled in education services
A girl stands in front of some books in Cambodia

‘I would tell my sponsors what my village looks like’

In Cambodia, Tort was one of the first children in her village to be sponsored. With the support she received, she was able to finish secondary school and now works as the librarian at the nearby primary school.

She also volunteers, teaching English classes to children from the surrounding area. Her next big dream is to become a secondary school teacher.

“With these lessons I want to give something back to my village, for having received so much in my life,” she says.

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