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Credit: Patti Talbot

When children can’t go to school, society suffers.

This is a story of United Church generosity in action. We support this activity and many more through our gifts to Mission and Service. Thanks so much for your generosity.

Published On: December 20, 2022 in Stories of Our Mission (The United Church of Canada)

How do you make the world a better place?

You can start by taking kids to school. Around the world, 57 million children cannot attend school.* They may never learn to read, to add or subtract, or to write.

These are the skills they need to succeed. 

Even more importantly, they never learn about their basic human rights.

It’s a complicated problem, says Patti Talbot, the United Church’s Global Partnership Team Leader. “The work we do isn’t going to lead to immediate societal change,” she says, “but it will make a big difference down the road.”

When children can’t go to school, society suffers. And that is why Mission & Service is in partnership with 85 organizations that work to increase access to education across the globe.

Each partner has their own approach to education and skills training, each supported by your gifts to Mission & Service.

Colombia’s Center for Communication uses arts and media to teach children about their rights. Women for Change in Zambia creates educational groups where participants share agricultural knowledge and awareness of their rights. At Japan’s Asian Rural Institute, local leaders gather to learn sustainable agriculture techniques they can take home and transform their communities.

“How can we make the world a better place?” asks Talbot before responding, “We can’t do that by ourselves; our partners know best what the challenges are.”

Talbot, a child of missionaries who was raised in Japan and Korea, knows that educational partnerships are critical. “In our partnerships, we learn from and teach each other,” she says. “The United Church’s focus is more than just sharing resources, but really sharing life together.”

It’s an approach that Talbot knows works, even if results take time. “Our partners are very grateful that the United Church of Canada has demonstrated over and over again that we are there for the long term,” Talbot says.

“Partners say to us ‘It makes such a difference to us to know that the United Church is with us, walking with us in prayer, supporting us, remembering us in their lives.’”


*United Nations, “Education for All(opens in a new tab)

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