Opening doors to education

Photographer: Claire Ladivicius

Every child has a right to education. Yet millions of children worldwide are denied their right and are excluded from quality education. Children without parental care or at risk of losing it are particularly vulnerable to missing out on education and training.

Education is a fundamental and enabling human right. It is also a family affair. Children’s readiness to learn and their ability to reach their full potential are fostered by secure attachments in a caring family environment.

One-in-ten of the world’s 2.2 billion children have lost, or risk losing, the care of their 'first teachers' – their parents.

Such children and young people are often deprived of a stable, nurturing and stimulating environment necessary for their development in early childhood. They are also disproportionately excluded from the formal education system and left unprepared to enter the labour market as young adults. Read more in Learning and Education for Development.

Risk factors and barriers

Children who have lost parental care or who live in families at risk of breaking down face several barriers to access quality education. These include child poverty, domestic violence, emergencies, discrimination, child labour, abuse and exploitation and disease. Find out more about these barriers.

Opening doors to education

At SOS Children's Villages, we provide a range of programmes to ensure that children and young people have access to quality education and training to prepare them for independent adult life. In our family strengthening, we also support parents in obtaining training, certification, or tools that enable them to establish a stable livelihood to support their children.

In 2016, we supported 297,000 children, young people and adults worldwide with their education or developing new skills:
  • Nearly 25,000 children were supported in their early childhood development in SOS kindergartens.
  • More than 100,000 children attended primary and secondary schools run by SOS Children's Villages.
  • More than 18,000 young people and adults developed professional and life skills at our vocational training centres.

  • Child-centred education

    We work with families, communities and partners to ensure that each child has access to education and training.