Imagine a classroom without desks.
Overcrowded classrooms, outdated books, lack of desks... these are all are common occurrences in schools without the funding to meet students’ needs.
In some parts of Kenya, the desk-to-child ratio is 1:10. Campaigns such as One Desk One Child by TechWomen and Unicef’s Kids in Need of Desks (K.I.N.D.) program have shed light on this issue. However, lack of desks still remains a serious problem for children living in the poor, rural areas.
Without a clear, safe workspace to learn, children are at a serious academic disadvantage. One study found that changing some core elements of classroom design can increase student learning outcomes by 16%. Proper classroom furniture in also linked to an increase in collaboration, focus, engagement, feedback and stimulation.
If schools can't meet the basic needs of their students, how can a child be expected to thrive in the classroom?
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According to Sr. Mary Mukuha, FMI, this was the case for students attending the Fr. Anthony Pagani Primary School where she serves. 90% of the students did not have a desk. Sr. Mary states that the children’s parents were unable to purchase a desk due to high poverty levels, cultural factors and even apathy.
Sr. Mary participated in ASEC’s Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) program, graduating with a diploma in Leadership and Resource Management in 2017. Using the skills she learned, Sr. Mary wrote a successful grant that enabled her to purchase desks for the students which include 100 boys and 200 girls ages 6-15, ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all (SDG 4).
“Without proper learning facilities, such as desks, hundreds of children in Mabera area will continue to go without formal education, falling victims to early forced marriages, female genital mutilation, child labor and social vices. In the long run, this will perpetuate the existing cycle of poverty.” -Sr. Mary
Thanks to Sr. Mary, the children of Fr. Anthony Pagani Primary School have the tools they need to reach their true potential.