One Billion Voices For Education Stories

#OneBillionVoicesforEducation Stories 

Acting now to elevate the voices of those affected

Are you one of the BILLION people whose education was affected by COVID-19? Was your child’s education, your nieces and nephew’s, your friends’ education affected? The world needs to hear your story of hope, despair, resilience, organisation and mobilisation.

LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD! Share your story with us on [email protected]!

Are you concerned about the future of the Billion students and children whose education was stopped or interrupted because of Covid19? Read their stories below!

Education at risk of becoming a luxury in Vanuatu

“I don’t have enough money for bus fare to go to school or training”

With COVID-19, Vanuatu’s borders closed, tourism stopped, and the economy dropped dramatically, leaving thousands of people unemployed and unable to take care of their families, let alone send their children to school. Many voices call on government to distribute a stimulus package to parents who have lost their jobs to that they can send their children to school. Learn more in this video.




The education of a daughter compromised

My name is Anna Seck. I am the mother of Anna Aw, a pupil at Saint Gabriel College, a public school in Thiès (70 kms from Dakar). I used to sell local juices and I was able to provide for my daughter who was doing quite well at school. In fact, she won a prize for each of her essays. When COVID-19 happened, my business was severely impacted because the measures taken by the authorities did not allow me to sell my products. Markets and schools were closed, or their activities were reduced to essential operations. I was then unable to pay my daughter’s school fees and the school refused to issue a half-yearly report card. I did what I could so that she could sit for the BFEM exam (general certificate at the end of junior school) and thank God she passed. My daughter should be going into her first year of high school, but without a report card, her registration and her studies are compromised. COVID-19 had a real negative impact on my daughter’s education.

No Chance to Catch up for Ionut

12-year-old Ionuț and his family live in difficult conditions. His father is often away, working hard to provide for them and his mother is ill and unable to look after the family.

Because he often had to miss school, Ionuț is repeating the fourth grade. His goal for this school year was to do his best and catch up with his classmates. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, schools across Romania closed for months and Ionut was left out as he had no access to online teaching.

His wish was for school to function as before and for him and his friends to return to the classroom, with their teacher, to learn and play together. School just reopened in Romania, but there remains a lot of uncertainty as for how long as the country is still severely affected by the pandemic

Maritza Valdés Torres’ dream for her daughter

In the small community of Mancura, in the Pomacanchi district of Peru, Maritza Valdés Torres, dreams of her daughter attending university and reaching professional opportunities. When school closed, and even though she received little education herself, she taught her daughter every day at home. Watch Martiza’s interview here.




When COVID- 19 takes away the only safe space

Shamarke and Zakariye respectively 14 and 13 years old, used to live on the streets of Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia. Like many other children, they were pushed on the street by poverty and family breakdowns. “I left my parents when I was so young. I do not know the whereabouts of my family” said Shamarke.

COVID-19 has inflicted deep and widespread impacts on the Somali economy, endangering the livelihoods of many families and putting even more children at risk of ending up on the street.

In parallel to that, school-closures have had a huge impact on children in Somalia. Even before COVID-19, it was estimated that of the 4.5 million school-aged children, only 1.5 million children were in school, leaving 3 million school-aged children out of school.

The prolonged school closures have exposed many more children to abuse and exploitation, taking away what was for many the only safe space. “Before I used to live with street children. Most of them used to have big knives. I was taken out of these gangs. Now I live in a good place. I urge other street children to go back to school.” Shamarke said.

The school was indeed instrumental in getting Shamarke and Zakariye off the streets. Thanks to Kadare Street Children Re-integration Centre, a member of the Somalia Coalition for Education For All (EFASOM), they were able to resume their education in December 2020.

Zakariye: “I used to live as a street child at Ceelgaab area of Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu. I was addicted to drugs. Now I am healthy and studying. I have a place to sleep and food to eat. In the future, I hope to be a school teacher”.

My contribution to society during the COVID-19 pandemic-José Luis Pérez-Peru

Hello, my name is José Pérez. I am a geographic engineering student at the National University “Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos”. I have been fortunate to be a recipient of the Accommodation Scholarship awarded by the same university and the Boarding Grant awarded by the Ministry of Education.

My contribution to society during the pandemic has been through the generation of the OXIMAP platform, which has been a great support for the most vulnerable families during Covid-19, by facilitating access to safe oxygen recharging points, cheap and, in some cases, free”. José Luis Pérez is from Chanchamayo, a province in the Junín region, located in the central highlands of Peru.

Thanks to these two grants he mentions, he can study at a university.

Scholarships and grants are indicators of the financial increase invested in public higher education. Watch the video in Spanish here.

Muhammad’s dream

“My dream is to become a researcher in science or mathematics”

8-year-old Muhammad’s dream is to become a researcher in science or mathematics. With the spread of COVID- 19, primary schools across Egypt closed, and Muhammad was unable to enrol in second grade. Muhammad’s family found a volunteer program called “the little genius” that seeks to discover students talented in mathematics. The family travelled 40km daily from their small village to the town of Kharga in order for Muhammad to attend the training. The program eventually had to stop as well, but this did not stop Muhammad who now practices at home the mental arithmetic games he learnt in training and shares them with his friends in the village.