With access to education, children gain the skills and tools to empower themselves and their communities. Yet, 58 million primary school-age children are currently not in school, and based on current trends, universal primary education will not be achieved until 2042.

On any given day, millions of children around the world face barriers that prevent them from attending school. Children often miss out due to a lack of basic necessities like clean water or healthy food. Sometimes the closest school is hours from home. Other times, conflict, gender inequality, disabilities or cultural factors prevent them from gaining the education they deserve.

Education is the first step to breaking the cycle of poverty. It provides the opportunity for children to learn, grow and become empowered to lead the life they want to live.

Fast Facts

  • Enrolment in primary education in developing countries recently reached 91%.
  • Currently, 50% of primary school-age and 75% of secondary school-age refugees are out of school.
  • By 2030 the United Nations hopes to ensure that all children receive primary and secondary education.
  • War and conflict is harming education worldwide. Between 2005 and 2015, schools in 26 countries were used for military purposes.
A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five.


Every child has the right to a primary education guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is so much we can do to improve access to education for children around the world, beginning with building classrooms in developing communities so that every child has a school to attend.

One school can improve every aspect of a community’s health and well-being. In school, students learn to set goals and solve problems, helping their parents run more successful home businesses and farms. They also learn how to safely treat drinking water and stop the spread of diseases, making their communities healthier. Education is proven to reduce the chance of death for mothers and infants during and after pregnancy. Educated mothers are also more likely to send their children to school.

Despite the benefits of girls’ education, girls usually have the hardest time accessing education. Many drop out once they reach puberty because they don’t have clean or private toilets or latrines to use at school. In some cultures, girls are forced to leave school and marry at an early age. Even the daily chore of walking for hours to collect drinking water limits the time that girls can spend in the classroom.

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