A child’s brain can activate 1,000 brain cells every second - but it needs stimulation.
Pre-school provides the perfect stimulation.
17% of children go to pre-school in Timor-Leste
And without it, kids aren't ready for primary school. Some have never held a pencil, seen a book, learnt the alphabet, or learnt how to count. These children struggle at school from day one. Many will have to repeat grades, while others will drop out altogether.
Education is the key to breaking the vicious poverty cycle, and every child deserves the opportunity to learn, explore and develop at pre-school.
How is UNICEF bringing education to kids?
UNICEF is providing community-based pre-schools in isolated villages where children are currently missing out.
We're providing children in remote villages with a safe space to learn in as well as learning materials such as alphabet cards, exercise books, blocks, number flash cards, puzzles, story books, pencils and crayons. We're also helping to provide comprehensive pre-school facilitator training to local volunteers.
When kids attend pre-school, it means they don't have to go to work from a young age, and they have a chance to escape poverty, early marriage, and child labour.
Timor-Leste at a glance
Timor-Leste (or East Timor) is a small country north of Australia. First colonised by Portugal, it was then claimed by neighbouring Indonesia in 1975 resulting in a decades long violent conflict.
Up to 200,000 East Timorese are estimated to have died during the Indonesian occupation.
After gaining independence in 2002, the violence mostly ended, however widespread destruction of infrastructure during the conflict left people facing extreme poverty.
Around 40% of the population are malnourished and children suffer from preventable diseases, food insecurity, lack of education and little access to health care.
Timor-Leste is a country of 1.2 million people, nearly half are children.
LOW SCHOOL ENROLMENT
Only 17% of under 5-year-olds are enrolled in pre-school.
72% of people live in the countryside, far from the nearest pre-school.
Why aren't children going to pre-school?
The majority of children live 2-5km away from the nearest pre-school. This is just too far for their little legs to carry them. Most pre-schools are located in the towns, but nearly 3 out of 4 families live in the countryside.
Because Timor-Leste is mountainous and lacks roads and public transport, the walk is difficult and dangerous. Parents are choosing to keep children at home until they are older. But without any early childhood education, kids are disadvantaged as soon as they get to primary school.
Help kids like Nevia get to pre-school
4-year-old Nevia is one of the lucky ones. Thanks to our amazing supporters who gave generously in 2016, we were able to establish a pre-school in Nevia’s village, just 2 minutes walk from her home. So far over 2,000 children have attended the school with many now starting primary school, all ready to learn.
Give children the chance to learn
Like so many children her age in Timor-Leste, 4-year-old Febiana lives in the countryside and has never been to pre-school.
We want every child to reach their potential and be given the opportunity to go to pre-school, that's why we're bringing early learning programs right into the heart of remote communities.
We're aiming to reach more than 5,200 young children who are currently missing out. You can help us.
Just $24 could provide a child with essential learning materials such as number cards, pencils, paper, books and puzzles. These things don't cost the earth, but they mean the world to children like Febiana. She'll get to play, learn and develop the skills she needs before she starts primary school.