Inspired by their experience as Peace Corps volunteers in Africa, Dr. Mark Lynd and Jeff Davis set out to help children in the developing world succeed in school. Their extensive work with governments worldwide taught them why so many children still weren’t thriving in the classroom. Determined to tackle the interrelated challenges students face, they founded School-to-School International in 2002.
Too many children, especially young girls, drop out of primary school and remain mired in poverty. The challenges communities face include:
• Overcrowded schools with lack of supplies
• Undertrained teachers who are often late or absent
• Hungry, tired, and sick children who are overworked at home
• Lack of clean water, nutritious food and toilets outside of school for students
• No time or place for children to study at home
All of these challenges must be addressed in order for students to learn and break out of the cycle of poverty. Like the human body, a school must have all of its organs operating in sync to be healthy. It is imperative not just to donate books or build a new classroom, but also to provide other types of support such as training teachers, engaging parents and promoting healthy practices. Too often not all of these basic needs are met; we believe it is a matter of justice that these essential elements are provided to every child. That is our mission, and it will not be fulfilled until we find a way to accomplish this.
The mission on which we were founded is incorporated into our holistic Whole Child Model, which we have employed and honed for more than a decade. After reaching more than 8,000 students, 130 teachers and thousands of parents and community members in 34 schools in Guinea, we aim to work with 50 more schools by 2015.