Our Areas of Focus

Education

One in six adults in the world today are illiterate, and two-thirds of these are women.1 61 million children of primary school age are currently out of school.2 Girls are more likely to be out of school than boys, and rural children are twice as likely to be out of school as urban children.3 Education and literacy are essential for empowerment and the eradication of poverty… Read more.

In low-income countries, an additional year of education adds about 10% to a person's income on average.4 Maternal education improves children's nutrition and chances of survival, and basic education has a significant impact on the spread of HIV and other diseases.5 But above all, education opens up the world—it brings awareness, understanding and the courage to act for justice.

TEAR partners work with people living in poverty to improve their access to quality basic education in a number of ways:

  • Support for pre-school and primary education programs that prepare and transition children into mainstream government primary schools
  • Community-managed primary schools in locations where government schools are not available
  • Teacher training
  • Support for initiatives that aim to transform education systems and engage local communities in decision-making processes
  • Adult literacy classes and life skills education
  • Vocational education and training
  1. UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2011). Fact Sheet: Adult and Youth Literacy. http://www.uis.unesco.org/FactSheets/Documents/FS16-2011-Literacy-EN.pdf Accessed August 11, 2012.
  2. UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2012). Reaching out-of-school children is crucial for development. http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Documents/fs-18-OOSC-2.pdf Accessed August 11, 2012.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.

Related Projects:

The Women Transforming the Slums of Thane, India

Poonam Nair (pictured) is a social worker with Saahasee, one of TEAR’s Indian partners. She works in the slums of Thane, on the outskirts of Mumbai, with women’s Self-Help Groups. Through her personal journey, she shares her insight into what happens when women are encouraged to gather, learn their rights, advocate to change their circumstances, and empowered to contribute to improving their communities.

My Background

I’m from a very simple background. When I was ten, I lost my mother. I then had to take the responsibility for my younger brother, who was 6 at that time. Being raised by my…

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The Women Transforming the Slums of Thane, India

Women’s Groups in Mazar, Afghanistan

With years of experience living and working in Afghanistan, Phil Sparrow doubted that women’s Self-Help Groups could cross the cultural familial bounds and succeed in this context. Happy to be proven wrong, he recently visited groups which are not only flourishing, but seeking broader social change.

I visited Mazar-i-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan recently. We had lived in Mazar for some years under the Taliban, as TEAR Fieldworkers, and the chance to visit again and reconnect with some old friends and see some new work was one I took up with glee. That’s right, I was gleeful, and you don’t…

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Women’s Groups in Mazar, Afghanistan

Empowering Community Participation, Nepal

Bhima Pun’s life is very much like that of so many women in the hilly rural areas of Nepal. She wakes up early in the morning, often before sunrise. The house needs to be swept first, and then she sets out on the trek to get water for her family. These days it’s just a short walk to the gravity-fed water point near her house, but it used to take hours to walk to a reasonably clean water source and return with her heavy pot of water. Although this was just one of her many daily tasks, it took so much time and energy that Bhima wasn’t able to be involved in much else. Bhima and her friends…

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Empowering Community Participation, Nepal

Access all Entitlements, India

TEAR’s partner EFICOR helps communities access the government schemes to which they are entitled, enabling both communities and government services to flourish.

Often, the most significant transformation in a community is not the one that is most immediately obvious to the eye. In Khairi Mushari village in India, the community achievement that does immediately stand out is a brand-new, bright pink flood shelter (pictured above) built high over the flat plains. It’s their first community building, the result of years of planning by the village Disaster Management Committee (DMC) – a group…

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Access all Entitlements, India

Shaping Government Policy for Mental Health, Nepal

Shaping Government Policy for Mental Health

While most advocacy undertaken through TEAR’s partners is on a local community level, some of our partners are involved in influencing national government policies and funding.

In Nepal, TEAR’s partner CMC (the Centre for Mental Health and Counselling) works in remote regions to improve the lives of people affected by mental illness, particularly through community awareness-raising and non-clinical psycho-social support, such as Self-Help Groups. To complement this, CMC engages with Nepal’s Department of Health to influence and shape national…

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Shaping Government Policy for Mental Health, Nepal

Zimbabwean mother volunteers to support the hearing-impaired community

It’s a tough job raising a child with a disability. For Petronella Muchidza, finding a way to communicate with her son, who was born deaf, has also proved to be an opportunity to improve the lives of other families with hearing-impaired members.

Through TEAR’s partner Nzeve, Petronella learned sign language and unlocked a way to connect with her son. Now, she assists as a volunteer sign language teacher in schools, and with community awareness raising activities for Nzeve. She’s also a volunteer Cluster Facilitator, helping support groups of carers for people with a disability, and a mentor…

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Zimbabwean mother volunteers to support the hearing-impaired community

Unlocking the key to opportunity in Ethiopia

An innovative project in Ethiopia is helping children overcome barriers to enter primary school and reach their full potential.

Do you remember when you first learnt how to read? It was like discovering a key that unlocked a whole new world. Suddenly signs could be decoded, books were exciting and letters came to life.

For children in poor and marginalised communities, education is the key that opens up opportunities to help break the cycle of poverty. It leads to an increased ability to earn a living, better health and nutrition, stronger communities and less discrimination. Girls who are…

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Unlocking the key to opportunity in Ethiopia

Improving Health in Schools, Zambia

In Zambia, poor sanitation and limited access to safe water is common. It’s a key reason for the high prevalence of diarrhoea and other debilitating, and sometimes deadly, illnesses.

TEAR’s partner, Reformed Open Community Schools (ROCS), is working to raise health and hygiene standards in community schools through improving access to safe water and sanitation facilities.

It’s a challenge – many schools have very basic structures, with limited sanitation facilities and few options for safe, clean drinking water. 

With the help of the community, who have contributed materials and labour,…

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Improving Health in Schools, Zambia

Equipping Teachers in South Sudan

We know that great teachers engage children with learning and encourage them to stay in school and reach their full potential. That’s why TEAR’s partner Across in South Sudan is working with teachers to equip them with skills that will help them be the best teachers that they can be.

Gabriel (pictured) is an enthusiastic Year 7 teacher at Adol Primary School in Rumbek East County, with a class of 35 students. The pay is not much (around A$30 per month), but Gabriel is passionate about education, especially science, in his community.

He has benefited from the teacher training provided by…

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Equipping Teachers in South Sudan

Clear-felling Culture, Cambodia

"The imported Western culture defines land as solely the dry land. To the indigenous people of Cambodia, the concept of land includes the sky and its birds, the ocean, rivers and what lives in the water. The heads of households, and every indigenous person, understands they are linked to all these parts of the environment." - Sophal Cheng

As forest logging destroys the traditional ways of life for Indigenous Cambodians, TEAR’s partner is walking with villagers to connect them with the values that protect and nurture their culture. They do this with the conviction that “progress” is not…

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Clear-felling Culture, Cambodia

Health and Nutrition Education, Nepal

Little Subiraj is only 20 months old and is acutely malnourished. His mother, Animaya, brought him to a health clinic in Dhading, Nepal, where TEAR’s partner United Mission to Nepal (UMN) has established a nutrition program. Here, UMN staff member Rina is feeding Subiraj some therapeutic food, a highly nutritious peanut product designed for emergencies.

After being diagnosed as severely underweight, Subiraj was admitted to a community-based program. Over time, as part of the program, he will hopefully gain weight and begin to thrive.

As well as the health clinics, UMN’s health team have…

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Health and Nutrition Education, Nepal

Keeping Kids in School (Pakistan)

Educational access is a major challenge in Pakistan. Due to distance, cost and cultural barriers, many children (especially girls like Kaku, pictured) don’t even enrol in school and one quarter drop out before completing primary education.

Despite these barriers, Kaku’s community, together with the support of TEAR’s partner the Diocese of Hyderabad and the government, are working together to establish community schools, creating a brighter future for their children.

Prior to 2005, only ten boys of all the eligible primary school-age children in this rural village in Sindh province were…

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Keeping Kids in School (Pakistan)

A community changemaker

TEAR's Kelly Rae shares the story of a woman named Golapi, who lives in Hasha Mazalia village in North West Bangladesh.

The sun burned down on my neck as I walked with staff from our partner organisation, Symbiosis, along a winding path to reach the village where Golapi lives. As we approached the village, we were welcomed by a group of women and their children, their bright smiles and vibrantly patterned clothes in sharp contrast with the brown dusty surrounds. Looking around, I could see that for people here, life was difficult. Nestled under a huge shady tree, homes were quite small and…

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A community changemaker

EFICOR: A Complex Adaptation

What causes community disintegration? Anyone working in community transformation or, indeed, those living in communities in distress will tell you that just as there is no one symptom, there is no one cause.

EFICOR, an Indian Christian organisation, has run projects with thousands of poor and marginalised communities over its 47 years, many of them supported by TEAR Australia. Their community-based agriculture projects have trained farmers across the country, enabling them to make the most from their land. But only in the last few years have they been forced to introduce a new element to…

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EFICOR: A Complex Adaptation

Scripture Union Queensland

SU Queensland, with Dhumba support, is now running special programs for young people at risk in the Rockhampton area. Working with local elders and the Darumbal Youth Community Services, the program engages young people with their cultural heritage, understanding the story, song and traditions of their local Mob through cultural games, overnight camping, yarning circles and traditional food. The program takes young people through high energy, risk-taking activities which create numerous opportunities for the young people to challenge their own abilities, build resilience and gain a sense of…

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Scripture Union Queensland

Hope and Opportunity in Laos

It’s not enough to just live; everyone deserves to have the opportunity to live to their full potential.

Keo Chan, her husband and three children were only just getting by.

With little money, they moved in with Keo’s family and shared a small house with two other families. There was not enough rice to go around, and Keo and her husband had to travel to another village to work to feed their family. There was no extra income for daily expenses, like school fees or medicine. If emergencies came up, there was no safety net.

Since TEAR’s partner, World Concern Laos, has been working with…

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Hope and Opportunity in Laos

Rewriting the story of maternal and child health in Afghanistan

The birth of a baby is meant to be a time of joy and excitement, but for many women living in Afghanistan it’s a time of great uncertainty and risk. Here, one in eight mothers die while giving birth, usually in their homes and often in remote areas. In the lead up to the birth, only 16% of women have access to a trained health care practitioner.

The Birth Life Saving Skills (BLiSS) program, developed by TEAR’s partner Operation Mercy, is helping to improve these statistics, and make a real difference in the lives of mothers and babies in Afghanistan. BLiSS is a health education program that…

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Rewriting the story of maternal and child health in Afghanistan

Educating children at school, kitchen garden techniques and skills.

Kitchen gardens in schools have sprouted in popularity in recent years, helping to teach a generation of kids how to grow fresh vegies. But the trend is not limited to Australia – children in a school in Phonhom village, Laos, have been building their own kitchen garden as part of a project run by TEAR’s partner World Renew (formerly CRWRC) Laos. Not only are they tending their patch and growing their own produce with pride, they are also helping to share what they’ve learnt with their families and grow food at home.

See (pictured, centre) and her schoolmates spent one afternoon a week in…

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Educating children at school, kitchen garden techniques and skills.

Training community youth development workers in the Pacific Islands

Meshach Eretea comes from Ruruhe village in the southern region of Malaita, a province in Solomon Islands. Despite facing many hardships in his own life, including his father passing away when he was young, he had been doing voluntary youth work with his church for some time before he became part of TEAR partner Praxis' youth development program (Ola Fou). His involvement empowered him to begin to look at ways he could respond to the needs of his community.

As part of Ola Fou's “Through Their Eyes” approach, he taught young people in his community to use a camera and encouraged them to take…

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Training community youth development workers in the Pacific Islands

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TEAR Australia is a Christian development, relief and advocacy organisation responding to global poverty and injustice. More >

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