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for Life
This ac t iv it y helps the participants appreciate the
importance of education in developing countries.
time required: 60 minutes
INT E ND E D F O R G R A D E S 6 - 8
Mat er ial s N eed ed

» a long piece of string (long enough so that each participant can hold a part of it)
» a key
» sheets of newsprint, one for each small group of five or six, plus one extra
» markers, one for each small group of five or six, plus one extra
» a roll of masking tape
» story slips from the resource entitled “Education Stories,” found on page 5. Enough for each
small group of five or six to have one

Activity Steps
1 A s k t he pa rt ic ipant s to sit in a circle, quite close to one another. Invite them to hold their
hands in front of them with their elbows by their sides. Run the piece of string around the circle,
over the participants’ open hands, so everyone is holding a part of it. Slip the key onto one end of
the string and then tie the two ends of the string together. You should now have a large loop of

string with the key on it.

A s k t he pa rt ic ipant s to close their hands loosely over the string and move them from side
to side over the string, bumping hands with those sitting next to them. Direct the person who has
the key to slide it along the string to the person next to him or her without anyone else noticing.
Have the group practice this a few times.

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3 N o w a s k for a volunteer to come into the center of the circle and close her or his eyes. Move
the key to a different point along the string and then get everyone to move their hands from side to
side again. Ask the volunteer to open her or his eyes and try to spot where the key is as it is passed
from person to person. If the volunteer gets it right, she or he should swap places with the person
who was holding the key. Repeat this step a few more times. Then note the following:
» This game is linked to the theme of the session! There’s a simple key that’s been found to un-

lock potential in poor communities around the world and to tackle poverty—it’s education!

Div id e a s h e e t of newsprint into two columns, one headed “For” and the other “Against.”
Post the newsprint where all can see. Call out some random words and ask the participants, in
turn, to say the word that immediately comes to mind. Start with words like broccoli or football.
Then say the word school and see how the participants respond. Comment on whether their re-

sponses are mainly positive or mainly negative.

F o l l o w in g t his, brainstorm the benefits of going to school as well as the downsides. Write
these on the newsprint in the appropriate column.

6 A s k t he f o l l o wing questions and discuss the participants’ responses:

» Where else do you learn?

» What are the essential things you think young people need to learn in the 21st century?

» How would you change school to help you learn better?

7 S h a r e t he f o l l o wing po int s:
» Education doesn’t happen at school only. We learn much from our families and from the
world around us.

» We never stop learning, even after we leave school. Some of us deliberately choose to study
more, but we are all constantly picking up new skills as the world around us changes.

» In the United States, we don’t have any choice about whether we receive an education, and
free schooling is available to all. But millions of children around the world aren’t able to go
to school and would love to.

» Why do you think these children don’t go to school?

S e e h o w m a ny of the following reasons the participants can name. If some are left unnamed,
be sure to share them.
» In poor countries, people often have to pay for education and many parents can’t afford the

» Many children have to work to help the family earn enough to survive. Sometimes they have
to do this instead of going to school.

» Some children may have to walk for hours to get to school.

» War affects education.

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» In countries where primary school education is free, schools are often run-down and don’t
have basic resources like books, chalkboards, or pens. Children sometimes have to learn

» The conditions for teachers in rural areas are sometimes very poor. In some places, there is
no house for teachers to live in, so they do not want to go there.

» In areas where HIV and AIDS are common, lots of children have been orphaned. Many
children have to run the house and look after their younger siblings. There is no time to go

to school.

Div id e t he l a r ge gr o up into small groups of five or six. Give each group a story slip
from the resource on page 5. Also provide each group with a sheet of newsprint and a marker. Ask
the small groups to read the stories on their slips and then discuss and write down the consequences
of getting an education. Encourage them to start with a statement and write down its consequences.
For example, using the story from Malawi, a possible statement and consequences could be:
» A health education worker shows how to purify water. The child no longer gets ill from
drinking dirty water. The child can go to school. The child learns to read and write, and how
to live a healthy life. When the child leaves school, he or she may train to be a health educa-
tion worker. He or she helps many other families to stay healthy so their children can go to
school too.

Ask the small groups to show these consequences in a flow chart on their sheet of newsprint.

I nv it e t h e s m a ll gr o ups to present their charts to the large group. Then ask the small
groups to repeat the task but this time write down the consequences of the child’s not getting an
education, again starting with a statement. The Malawi story statement and consequences could be:
» No one shows the women in the village how to purify their water, or explains why dirty wa-
ter is so dangerous. The children get ill with sickness and diarrhea. They cannot go to school
because they are too weak. They don’t learn how to read and write, so they can’t find out
how to stay healthy. When they grow up and have children of their own, the same thing will
happen. Or worse, their children will get cholera and will die.

Again, the small groups should show these consequences in a flow chart and then present them to

the large group.

Dis c us s what needs to happen for the millions of children who are not in school to be given the
opportunity of an education. There is of course no easy solution, so encourage the participants to
think broadly about what changes need to take place. They may come up with the following:
» Governments need to provide education free of charge, making it available to everyone.

» Investment in school buildings, teacher training, resources, and the infrastructure of educa-
tion is necessary.

» Attitudes must change so people realize that girls need an education as much as boys.

» Any measures to alleviate poverty are likely to result in more children going to school, as
children will no longer have to work to support their families.

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12 N o t e t he f o l l o wing:
» World Vision is an international Christian organization that provides opportunities for child
sponsorship, where people in the United States can give a regular sum of money to help a
child and the child’s community in a developing country.

» The money given through child sponsorship helps individual children but also benefits their
whole community.

» World Vision works with local communities to identify their most urgent needs. Working
alongside local people, World Vision helps them to find practical, effective, and lasting solu-

tions to the problems they face.

Dis c us s w it h t h e part ic ipant s whether the group (or they as individuals) could com-
mit to sponsoring a child through World Vision. Alternatively, you could discuss ways the group
could raise money for World Vision or a similar organization in its work to alleviate poverty, which
will inevitably lead to more children being able to go to school.

(This activity is adapted from the World Vision United Kingdom youth leader resource Education for Life (2005).
Copyright © 2008 by World Vision Resources, Mail Stop 321, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716
wvresources@worldvision.org. All rights reserved.)

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Resource | Education Stories

A Malawian family collects water each day from a distant stream to use for drinking and washing.
Unfortunately the water is not at all clean, and the children are often ill with diarrhea and unable
to go to school. They are also at risk of contracting cholera, an even more serious disease. A local
health-education worker shows the family how to purify its water by boiling it and using chlorine
water. The children are now much healthier and can attend school more regularly.


Twelve-year-old Jagoda belongs to the Roma community in Bosnia-Herzegovina. One day at school,
she announces that her parents have decided she has to leave school to get married. Her teacher
reminds her of her wish to be a teacher, and about how her education will help her to look after her
family better when she does get married. World Vision staff talks to Jagoda’s parents about the im-
portance of her finishing her education, and her marriage has been postponed for now.


Alunki is 7 and lives with his family in Jaipur in northern India. He comes from a family of rag
pickers, who collect rags from other people’s rubbish and sell them to earn a living. Alunki used
to have to work all day with his family. But recently he has been going to a World Vision informal
education center, which has helped him to catch up on the schooling he has missed so far. And he is
about to join a school with children his own age so he can continue his education.


Until recently, Ram Chaudhari was a slave to a landowner in Nepal. His father and grandfather
had also been slaves. This practice, where enslavement is passed down the family from one genera-
tion to the next, is known as bonded labor. Nepal’s government has outlawed this dehumanizing
practice, so now Ram’s children, Lalita and Mahesh, can go to school.


Resource: Permission to reproduce is granted. © 2008 by World Vision Resources.

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About World Vision
W o rld V i s i o n i s a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to helping
children and their families break free from poverty. Our work is motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ. We
see a world where each child experiences “fullness of life” as described in John 10:10. And we know this can
be achieved only by addressing the problems of poverty and injustice in a holistic way. That’s how World
Vision is unique: We bring nearly sixty years of experience in three key areas needed to help children and
families thrive: emergency relief, long-term development, and advocacy. And we bring all of our skills across
many areas of expertise to each community we work in, enabling us to care for children’s physical, social,
emotional, and spiritual well-being.

W o rld V i s i o n R es o u r c e s educates Christians about global poverty, inspires them to social justice,
and equips them with innovative resources to make a difference in the world. By developing biblically-based
materials for educators and ministry leaders on the causes and consequences of global poverty, World Vision
Resources supports the organizational mandate to move the church in the United States to more fully embrace
its biblical responsibility to serve the poor.

For more information about

our resources, contact:

World Vision Resources


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