2020 was an extremely challenging year for everyone. Although we are modestly proud of the way in which we continued to work during the pandemic (see Annual report 2020), many of our projects had to be postponed. Until now, that is, because the time has finally come to dust off our plans!
Restart StreetSmart Wheels expeditions
Our StreetSmart team has started planning on-site expeditions again to support our local street work partners worldwide. And we do have plenty of plans! Our new mobile school in the Georgian capital Tbilisi will be launched mid-September. We will also organise exploratory visits in Guadalajara, Mexico and in Eldoret, Kenya, and we are looking into the possibility of starting up a new mobile school project in Kampala in autumn together with our Ugandan partner Dwelling Places. Finally, we are absolutely thrilled about a brand-new pilot project with the mobile school in Antwerp this summer, with our good friends of the City Pirates. Be sure to keep an eye on our social media pages in the coming months for more information about all these different projects!
Increased need on the street
Seeing the agendas fill up again is rewarding, but unfortunately it is also an absolute necessity because of the disastrous situation on the street. In many places, the pandemic has wiped out hard-won progress made in recent years and decades. Recently published figures from international organisations such as UNICEF and the International Labour Organization (ILO) painfully illustrate these negative trends.
The number of children in child labour, for example, has risen to 160 million worldwide, a figure that is rising again for the first time in two decades. In addition, another 9 million children worldwide are at risk of ending up in child labour by the end of 2022 because of the pandemic. An additional 142 million children have fallen into poverty as a result of the pandemic. The figures are also dramatic in the field of education. Measures have been taken in schools in 188 countries worldwide to prevent the spread of the virus. 1 billion children are at risk of falling behind due to school closures and while governments tried to offer alternative forms of education, 1 in 3 children were unable to have access to online education, very often children from the most vulnerable groups in society.
A look at the future
Evidence shows this pandemic is disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable groups in society, which is why it is crucial to hit the streets again as quickly as possible together with our street work partners to work on the self-esteem and talents of young people in a creative and positive way. At the same time, the continued improvements on our StreetSmart digital products will allow us to take the social impact of our organisation to the next level. New plans will be made more concrete in the coming months and we will gladly keep you posted via our website and social media channels.
Thanks again for all your support during these difficult times. We wish you a pleasant, warm summer and we are really looking forward to seeing you sometime soon!
The MobileSchool.org team