Sunday Harriet,


As an infant, Sunday Harriet suffered a serious infection in both her ears. Now 11 years old and in primary school, Sunday’s learning ability is impaired because she is hard of hearing.

A resident of the Palake refugee camp in northern Uganda, Sunday’s challenges are complex. Because she has a disability and because she was forced to flee her home her chances of receiving quality education are extremely limited. However, ECW funds programming for refugees in Uganda through the AVSI Foundation to address the needs of this vulnerable population.

In this instance, AVSI supported Sunday as she gained access to a range of support services, making her education feasible.

First off, the AVSI Foundation used a contact disability assessment tool, used to detect children with impairments, to screen Sunday.

Having clearly qualified for assistance, she was referred for further clinical assessment by an ear, nose and throat specialist in Gulu, in northern Uganda, who recommended she be fitted with hearing aids.

The assistance has been life changing. Having eventually received her digital hearing aids from Kampala Audiology and Speech Centre, she can now properly engage in classroom exercises and listen clearly to what her teachers are saying.

Original story source: AVSI Foundation in Uganda

“I used to be picked by teachers and brought in front of the classroom because I did not hear well.”


Central African Republic (CAR)

In the CAR, an Accelerated Learning Programme provides a pathway to formal schooling for 10-year-old displaced Océane

Océane, 10, never got the chance to start school. She was only thee when violence broke out in her country, the Central African Republic, displacing more than 1 million people. Since 2014, she has lived in a displacement camp outside the UN’s peacekeeping headquarters in the central-northern city of Kaga-Bandoro. Océane, her parents, and six siblings live alongside 12,400 people in the camp, too afraid to return to their homes. Though Océane’s family tried their best to rebuild their lives, they couldn’t afford to pay the money for her to start school.

“My father could never afford to pay for my schooling, so I spent all my time at home, helping my mother with chores,” says Océane. She gave up her dreams of being able to read and write and instead spent her days helping her mother sell doughnuts, cook, and clean. Then in 2019 the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), an ECW grantee, launched an Accelerated Learning Programme in Kaga-Bandoro. The nine-month programme offered 420 children affected by conflict the opportunity to attend school. Océane and her classmates were able to catch up on all the learning they had missed. They learned the basics of reading and writing and took an evaluative exam at the end of the programme. When students passed this exam, they were able to enrol in the local primary school.

Océane was delighted to have had the opportunity to join the programme. “I am really happy with my classes. I do not have to sell any more doughnuts. Now, I can read and write the alphabet. My favourite classes are French and math,” she says.

Every day, Océane gets up at 6 a.m. and walks 30 minutes to get to her classes. In the afternoon, she does her homework and reads. Like most families in their situation, Océane’s family was not able to afford the books, pencils, and other tools she needed for her classes. As part of the Accelerated Learning Programme, Océane and her fellow students received school kits containing notebooks, pencils, slates, and school bags. “I like going to school,” she says. “And I am grateful to have received this school kit, because now I have everything I need to learn new things every day.”

Océane is full of hope and dreams that one day she will become a nurse. “I want to study to the highest level and earn a degree in medicine. Then I could take care of the children in Kaga-Bandoro.” Océane’s hard work is now paying off. After completing the programme, she passed the exam and is undertaking formal schooling at the local primary school. “Every child should have the possibility to go to school and forget the war they have lived through,” she concludes.

Original story source: NRC in CAR

“I am really happy with my classes. I do not have to sell any more doughnuts. Now, I can read and write the alphabet. My favourite classes are French and math.”



Reading clubs use songs, storytelling, and other activities to boost literacy among refugees in Uganda.

When David arrived in Uganda he could not read or speak English. Nor could many of his friends. Like many refugee children whose lives have been uprooted by war, David missed out on much of his education after fleeing the ongoing war in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. But with support from ECW, Save the Children has set up reading clubs in Rwamwanja, in southwestern Uganda, where more than 71,000 refugees now live. ECW and its partners are committed to boosting literacy levels, which are often very low among children in lower grades in refugee communities. To bring children back up to speed, Save the Children’s Literacy Boost programme aims to get the whole community excited about reading, making it a fun part of everyday life.

The clubs use songs, storytelling, and other activities to help children read together in groups. As David notes, “When we joined the club, many children did not know how to read. Today, I can even read difficult words.” David’s father, Steven, says his son attends every club session. “I can see an improvement in his ability to read. Even at school, his performance this term was much better than the last one.” Literacy Boost is designed to train teachers to help children learn to read, keep them engaged, and get communities involved by providing books, camps, and other learning activities. Teachers say they are already seeing a positive impact on the children. “We did an assessment here at school of children who are in reading clubs and we found a very big difference from those who are not,” says teacher Francis Watoro. “Children in lower classes who are in those clubs are able to read. We have very many children in the settlements, so we encourage more of these clubs to be set up.”

A local head teacher, Mutabazi Lawrence, says the reading clubs are vital for children’s learning. “Our school is very congested, with more than 200 children per class,” he explains. “The overcrowding means learning is not very effective. Children need to read for all learning in school, but many cannot. This is the first time we’ve had a reading club in the community. It’s free so more children can access it, and we hope it will also improve their wider performance at school.”

Save the Children aims to get children reading as early as possible. “Learning begins at a very early age,” declares Aidah Ninkusiima, a staff member. “It’s during the lower-grade learning that the child is best able to learn skills.”

Original story source: Save the Children Uganda

“When we joined the club, many children did not know how to read. Today, I can even read difficult words.”
Photo: Save the Children Uganda
A meeting with teachers, parents and community groups to discuss setting up a new Reading Club.



In Afghanistan, community-based education provides new hope to 8-year old disabled Khalid

Displaced by conflict in Afghanistan, 8-year-old Khalid lost his farther at an early age and has a permanent disability in his foot.

Many children like Khalid are left behind. Schools are too far from home, their disability pushes them into the shadows, and basic education services – or specialized services if they are required – are simply not available or impossible to access due to the extreme poverty of their families.

“Khalid’s father passed away about five years ago and left his mother with five children. I take care of his family, but due to the long distance between our home and the government school, Khalid could not attend a school regularly with his disabled foot and unhealthy body,” said Khalid’s uncle, Hayatullah.

“It was also impossible for me to regularly take him to a school that is located around four kilometres away.” With ECW funding, Save the Children and local partner WADAN are supporting Khalid and other children like him to access education through community-based education. Through the investment, WADAN implements community-based education (CBE) projects in Behsood, Jalalabad City, Surkhrod, Khogyani, and Rodat districts of Nangarhar Province. Recognising the situation facing Khalid and other children in his community, WADAN established a community-based education classroom just 300 meters from his home.

With this new support, Khalid is thriving. “We were upset when we saw his friends go to school and he could not. It was disappointing and annoying. We are very happy to see him every day studying for four hours in the class and doing his homework when he returns home,” said Khalid’s mother, Nemat Bibi.

Khalid’s 9-year-old sister, Hosna, attends a closer, all-girls government school and studies in the third grade. “In the evening, Khalid and I study together at home and help each other in lessons.” Hosna expressed how astonished she was by Khalid’s rapid improvement and capabilities. “Khalid is so smart and motivated.”

This story was originally produced by Save the Children Afghanistan and was edited by ECW for this report. Names have been changed in accordance with child safeguarding policies.

Original story source: Save the Children Afghanistan

“Khalid was not able to even write basic words, but he is improving now and learning different skills such as drawing, writing and reading. He is an intelligent and enthusiastic student.”
—Ikramuddin, Khalid’s teacher