Child soldiers go back to school
With the scholarship project we provide former child soldiers with an opportunity to start, resume or continue their theoretical education. Since most ex-combatants have spent years in military surroundings, most of them are uneducated. Some of them have the desire to go (back) to school. Education gives them more career-opportunities later on in their lives.
The amount of ex-child soldiers desiring further education is relatively small. Most of them are used to take care of themselves, and are therefore inclined try their luck on the job-market after demobilization. Unfortunately countries in a post-conflict situation rarely provide a wealth of possible jobs, increasing the risk of ex-combatants choosing a criminal career. For most of them, this is the only way to survive.
Those who choose to get an education will, in doing so, provide themselves with a more stable future. We try to help achieve this in any way we can.
How does it work?
The scholarship program provides scholarships to individual former child combatants for:
- Basic education (secondary school)
- Professional training
- Higher education
The ‘scholarship project’ is a total package for the complete education of individuals and has four components:
- Material help, directly related to education: college fees, uniforms, schoolbooks, school materials, pamphlets, exam fees, extra classes.
- Material help, indirectly related to education to enable the individual to follow education and concentrate on his or her studies, (if proven necessary): Lunch money, maintenance money, housing, fund for maintenance of family members the individual is responsible for.
- Advice in their educational careers, based on; the individuals’ wishes, capacities, and talents, opportunities on the job market, the needs of society as a whole, and moral support in personal or educational difficulties.
Individual approach: Applicants will be handpicked by advisors, who will also function as their mentors once they have been granted a scholarship. The participants will at all times stay individuals and will be guided through their education accordingly.
Community approach: To promote the responsibility of families towards their children, communities identify vulnerable families based on pre defined criteria, through child welfare committees, which will include families with former child combatants who have not reintegrated well into society. Support will be given to between two and four children in such families with scholarships covering direct school support for fees, books, uniforms, pamphlets and study fees. The families will be provided small grants to support other needs indirectly related to the children’s education. The community will be stimulated to take responsibility for providing moral support in personal and educational issues regarding our beneficiaries.
Participants will be assisted throughout their educational careers. The assistance they will receive is dependent on their personal circumstances, talents and capabilities. We expect the participant to take own responsibility and be motivated to follow education. Their scholarship will be re-evaluated half yearly. If participants fail without ‘good’ reason, their rights to a scholarship will be revoked. Mind to Change will assist them to find other means or ways to (re)build their lives.
When applicants finish their education, Mind to Change will help them to find their way on the job market and apply for jobs.