How Education Breaks the Cycle of Poverty

Since 1992, Chalice has told anyone who will listen about the cycle of poverty. It’s the thing that keeps families poor through generations, and one of our key goals is breaking it.  

We’re big believers that the first step in that process is education. For many in the developing world, education isn’t a matter of enrolling in a public primary school and getting there on the bus. In Zambia, for example, students in rural communities walk long distances to school, and only 55.3% of students pass their grade 9 exams.  

Lack of education and support means kids don’t continue to post-secondary education, limiting the type of jobs they can access. Chalice is working to change that, and by the end of 2022, our Zambian sites want 95% of children to pass grade nine exams and move to the next level.  

Education in Action  

If you’re looking for proof that education makes a difference in breaking the cycle, look no further than Chansa.  

Chansa is the fifth-born child in a family with six children, and grew up near our Serenje sponsor site in Zambia. Her parents, peasant farmers, struggled to keep the children in school, and her other sisters and oldest brother eventually dropped out.  

“My parents struggled a lot to take care of us,” Chansa shared.  

But Chansa, a determined spirit, threw herself into academic work. She didn’t let her circumstances determine her future, and took gardening work to pay for schoolbooks. 

That’s when a Chalice sponsor stepped in to help Chansa.  

“Her life changed. She concentrated on academic work instead of worrying about where she would get money for books,” site staff recalled. 

To Chansa, her sponsors are like bonus parents.  

With her education and other needs covered, Chansa’s parents began saving money to buy materials for a new house. Today, they’ve realized their dream of building a home of their own.  

Chansa, for her part, completed her secondary studies and enrolled in nursing school. She’s now certified as a nurse, an achievement that helps her help the vulnerable in society.  

“In the village, my friends are encouraged by seeing my achievement. I am confident that children, young girls and boys are admiring to become symbols of a bright future when given a chance,” Chansa said.  

Happy International Day of Education!  

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