Education provides the highest return of any social investment.

Through the education pillar of Adopt a Village, Free The Children builds schools, school rooms and libraries, and provides communities with school furniture and basic school supplies.

But our education pillar extends beyond building and furnishing schools. In all the countries we work in, we partner with the Ministry of Education to ensure our projects are maintained over the long-term, to create programming and initiatives to complement government-determined curriculum, and to commit to providing all students—boys and girls—with a quality education.

Together, our projects and programs create a holistic education model that empowers children to lead productive, successful and happy lives. When children are educated, entire communities attain the knowledge and tools to break the cycle of poverty, for themselves and for future generations.


Imagine you couldn’t read or write. Imagine you knew nothing of the world that exists beyond your hometown. Imagine you had no idea how to prevent common illnesses that were devastating your community. Or worse yet, imagine you didn’t even know your basic human rights, let alone how to fight for them.

For the 58 million primary school-aged children who aren’t in school, there’s no need to imagine—this is their reality. These children are out of school for a number of reasons: some of them, girls especially, are needed at home to help take care of siblings and collect water for their family’s use, others are engaged in child labour; some live too far from the nearest school, while others can’t afford to pay for a uniform or the necessary school fees. Whatever the reason, without access to an education, these children remain voiceless and the cycle of poverty continues.

Education is the best way to empower children, especially girls, with the tools, knowledge, strength and confidence they need to promote and protect their own rights, growth and self-sufficiency. With education, children, families, communities and even nations can break the cycle of poverty.

Did You Know?

  • 58 million primary school-aged children are not in school, and 31 million of them are girls.
  • An estimated 215 million children are engaged in child labour.
  • Only 1 in 5 working children is in paid employment. Most are unpaid family workers.
  • 774 million adults (15 years and older) cannot read or write. Two-thirds of them are women.


Through implementation of all five Adopt a Village pillars over three to five years, Free The Children aims to improve access and change not only circumstance and opportunity, but also behaviour. Ultimately this leads to a change in community status, resulting in long-term, effective and meaningful development.

By improving access to education and providing additional resources, over a period of time, Free The Children begins to see change in a community: more students attending school, improved academic performance and grades and an increase in primary school graduation rates.

Our Education Projects Include:

  • New schools and school rooms
  • Rebuilding or refurbishing existing schools and school rooms
  • Libraries, administration offices and teacher accommodations
  • Leadership programming and training for teachers
  • Extracurricular school clubs (i.e. the Health and Environment Clubs)
  • Educational resources like books and in some cases, computer and science labs
  • Provision of school furniture and basic school supplies

Research shows that our programs have a lasting impact.

A 2011 study on Adopt a Village by Mission Measurement assessed the program on three levels: overall effectiveness, sustainability and cost-effectiveness. The study has found that projects implemented through Adopt a Village have met all three objectives, and Free The Children continues to strive to make its programs effective, sustainable and cost-effective.

Since the creation of the education pillar, Free The Children reports:



“650+”,”schools and school rooms built in Free The Children communities.”,”55,000″,”children provided with education every day.”




Meet Nannan

Nannan Ma is very grateful for the work Free The Children has done in her community. Without it, her life might be totally different. The 11-year-old, who lives with her family in Malizhuang, China, started going to school when she was seven. When she was 10, though, she had to leave school to help her parents. They run a small restaurant and, for a whole year, Nannan worked as a waitress to help out.

Then Free The Children built a new school in Malizhuang, with a much larger student capacity, and Nannan got a second chance at an education. “The leader of our community persuaded my parents to send me back to school and to let me finish my primary school education,” she says.

Now Nannan is back in school and learning math, physical education, Mandarin and arts. She likes learning and understands how important it is that she gets an education. “Education can help me and my family to live a better life in the future,” she says.

Nannan hopes to complete her education and become a teacher. As she explains, “I want to… give knowledge to other people.” She is thankful for all that Free The Children has done to help her achieve that dream. “[Free The Children] built a good new school for us and gave us the chance to go to school,” she says, adding, “Without Free The Children, I might not be back at school.”