Our Latest Projects, 2021
Lisa Henry, Volunteer Writer
We have developed unique projects this year that will aim to address the widening learning gap as well as empower children to contribute towards their communities. Despite the difficulties we have experienced during COVID, we have recognised the need for more innovative educational solutions that will allow us to continue to make a difference. As a result, we will be focusing on a variety of exciting projects that will encourage children in our project locations to participate in high-quality and stimulating education.
With nearly half of all children in the world having no access to the internet at home (Unesco, 2020), the shift to remote learning has resulted in significant learning loss for those who cannot access the internet and a further negative impact on learning poverty (World Bank, 2020). In the Sub-Saharan African region and other low-income countries, learning poverty was already at 87% and 90% before COVID (Weforum, 2020). According to the World Bank, learning poverty has increased since the pandemic began and many more children will not be able to read at a basic level by the time they are 10 (2020). Currently, 53 percent of 10-year-old children from low and middle-income countries are failing to learn to read at a basic level (Weforum, 2020). The World Bank’s policy to cut learning poverty in half by 2030 will be slowed and if current trends continue, it will take 50 years to achieve this target (Weforum, 2020)
The growing learning poverty in the last year has had serious effects on educational attainment for many children. To address this, we are committed to developing multiple alternative methods of learning where children can continue developing their literacy, numeracy and reading skills at home. This year, we are distributing 2000 tablets into the hands of children in South Africa and Lebanon. Through our partnership with One Billion, a non-profit edtech developer, we will be distributing tablets that provide children offline access with daily lessons of up to 40 minutes. Lessons include a comprehensive range of numeracy, literacy and reading activities.
Each tablet is unique in that they can work offline, be used by multiple users and can be used without adult supervision. The tablets also adjust to each child’s learning skills as users log on and take a pre-assessment before commencing their learning.
Supporters of the Breteau Foundation can help us reach even more children by visiting our Education Technology for Disadvantaged Children Just Giving Page. We encourage our supporters to sponsor a tablet which will go directly to disadvantaged children and families we work with.
Primary School in Lebanon
There are more than 660,000 school age refugees in Lebanon (Save the Children, 2021), with little to no access to education. Since the pandemic, access to education has been significantly disrupted and the demand for consistent and quality education remains high within the country.
Our first Breteau Foundation Primary School in Lebanon, due to be launched in September 2021, will be a positive step to providing much needed free and formal education for the growing refugee population, opening pupil places for up to 486 children. The school model will provide education in English and Arabic for children from Kindergarten to Grade 6. The school will run as a two form entry system, with 243 students attending in the morning and the other 243 in the afternoon.
We will be working with partners to build relationships in the community and intend to provide additional programmes including adult education, afterschool and community clubs, as well as specialist training in educational technology.
Plastic Pollution Education
We recognise the importance of raising awareness on plastic pollution, especially for the countries that we are working in. Plastic pollution is having a significant effect on countries all over the world and is something we care deeply about as the countries we work in are likely to be affected the most by its impacts (National Geographic, 2019). Many developing countries recycle less and lack infrastructure for appropriate waste disposal. (National Geographic, 2019).
Project locations such as Colombia produce 2.41 million tonnes of plastic waste per year (Our World in Data, 2018) which is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and damage to our oceans and ecosystems (Yale Climate Connections, 2019). Colombia is also surrounded by vast coastal, marine and mountain ecosystems susceptible to landslides and flooding which may pose a further threat to millions of Colombians if environmental pollution continues to worsen (Conservation International, 2021).
This year, the Breteau Foundation is partnering with a major tv series to produce a special episode on the global plastic crisis. Through this educational episode we are aiming to encourage young children to become changemakers in the fight against plastic in our environment. Thanks to this partnership, we will be able to reach a diverse and broad network of children in their own homes globally.
Our special episode is on track for release in 2022, alongwith a portfolio of free educational workshops and resources for schools and teachers worldwide. These workshops will prompt discussions in classrooms and at home and will encourage children to reflect on the different ways they can work towards combating plastic pollution. We want children to start thinking about the importance of their own contributions and how they can start making significant impacts on our environment and their local communities.
We are looking forward to further supporting our schools, children and families with these unique projects this year. Although the learning loss for disadvantaged children has been difficult in this climate, we are optimistic that with our efforts to narrow the learning gap, we will be able to reach more children and will continue to play an important role in their learning, no matter where they are in the world.