An Expanded Vision For Student Sponsorship

Introducing a more holistic approach to supporting high-potential students from impoverished families to stay in school and achieve their dreams.

In our partner countries, Burkina Faso and Malawi, less than 10% of students complete high school.  In fact, according to analysis conducted by FHI 360 and the Education Policy and Data Center, only 33% of students who start school ever even reach high school in Malawi, and only 48% in Burkina Faso.  

Why?  One of the major reasons is a lack of school fees and materials due to poverty.

WE CAN HELP CHANGE THAT !

Meet Evelyn, one of the students in our ‘Education Is Power’ Program

‘Education is Power’ students attend school with confidence and can focus their attention on their studies.  Once they graduate, they are more likely to lift themselves out of poverty, support their family, and realize their potential. 

WHAT STUDENTS RECEIVE

Each student sponsored by The Sonder Project through our ‘Education is Power’ program receives the following for one academic school year:

  • All Necessary School & Exam Fees
  • Boarding Fees (if facilities available)
  • Food Rations (if living independently)
  • School Uniform
  • School Shoes, Polish, Brush, & Socks
  • Pencils, Pens, Erasers, Ruler
  • Exercise Books
  • Solar-powered Flashlight
  • School Bag
  • Washing Soap
  • Menstrual pads (if applicable)

 

Wraparound Support

 In addition to direct sponsorship, students selected for our Education is Power Program also receive Mentorship, Life Skills Enrichment, and Tutoring support.  

🟠 Mentorship
All students need positive role models in their lives. That’s why we assign every POWER student a Sonder Project staff member as their mentor. 

🟠 Life Skills Enrichment
We look to build character, confidence and understanding outside of the traditional classroom. Reproductive Health, Career Exploration, Leadership Training, and Study Skills, are just a few of the many modules we plan to offer our students.

🟠 Tutoring
Additional, focused instruction outside the traditional school day is critical to helping students understand challenging concepts. We aim to identify POWER students who may benefit from more direct support, and then work with the school community to arrange tutoring sessions.

     

     

    Frequently Asked Questions

    WHY EDUCATION IS POWER?

    Education is key to overcoming poverty, but for many students in our partner countries, the educational ladder of opportunity is blocked due to the high cost of school fees and a lack of support and resources.  Students from the rural communities where we drill wells and build schools are particularly disadvantaged due to the high levels of poverty.  The barriers become particularly pronounced at the secondary level (grades 7-13 in Burkina Faso and grades 9-12 in Malawi) because unlike primary school, secondary school is not “free”.  We focus our support on secondary school students.

    Girls are especially prone to dropping out due to gender norms that prioritize the education of boys first, challenges when a girl first hits puberty, and the responsibilities of household care. As a result, too often girls are encouraged to marry young and get pregnant early. The Sonder Project’s Education is Power program requires at least 50% of sponsored students to be girls.

    Through the Education is Power program, students receive the stable support and resources necessary to be able to focus on their education and the POWER to reach their full potential.  

    HOW IT WORKS?

    Our staff on the ground work with local community leaders, partners, parents, and teachers to identify students who have demonstrated potential and have socioeconomic need. We then interview each student nominated and assess them on a series of questions, including the Poverty Probability Index, to make selections.  Students are sponsored for one academic year and automatically continue in the program if they pass and maintain good behavior.  In addition to direct sponsorship, Education is Power students benefit from our 4 pillars (more info below).

    The Sonder Project staff keep tabs on sponsored students and track their progress in collaboration with their school.  We distribute specific materials at the start of each term, and we follow-up with the student, parents, and/or teachers when concerns are raised.  

    WHAT’S INCLUDED?

    The Sonder Project’s Education is Power program has 4 key pillars:

    1. Sponsorship – sponsorship is the foundation of our program, providing the resources students need to reach their full potential.

    2. Mentorship – all students need positive role models in their lives.  That’s why we assign every POWER student a Sonder Project Staff member as their mentor.  All of our staff are professional, host country nationals, who may be the only college graduate our POWER student knows – other than the teachers at his/her school.  As mentors, our staff visit their assigned students at their school on a regular basis and conduct one on one meetings to address current challenges and provide advice and support to overcome them.  

    3. Life Skills Enrichment – In addition to supporting students in the classroom, there are many important life skills that can help build character, confidence and understanding outside of the traditional classroom.  Reproductive Health, Career Exploration, Leadership Training, and Study Skills, are just a few of the many topics we hope to support our students around through an annual POWER Retreat held in each country.   

    4. Tutoring – additional, focused instruction outside the traditional school day is critical to helping students understand challenging concepts.  We aim to identify POWER students who may benefit from more direct support, and we then work with the school community to arrange tutoring sessions to prevent our students from falling behind.

     The sponsorship component of the program allows for each student to receive the following for one academic year(exact items may vary by country):

    • All Necessary School & Exam Fees
    • Boarding Fees (if applicable)
    • Food Rations (if living independently)
    • Textbooks (if required)
    • School Uniform
    • School Shoes, Polish, Brush, & Socks
    • School Bag
    • Pencils, Pens, Erasers, Ruler
    • Exercise Books
    • Washing Soap
    • Solar-powered flashlight
    • Menstrual pads (if applicable)
    WHAT IT COSTS?

    A gift of $25/month supports a student for one academic year (or $300/year).

    HOW TO BECOME A SPONSOR?

    Sign-up to become a sponsor by donation through our Student Sponsorship Campaign.  You will receive a unique, individual student profile for each student you sponsor in December.  The school year itself runs from September – July (Malawi) and October – July (Burkina Faso).  We seek to receive all sponsorships by September so we can maximize our selection process for the year, and then we distribute profiles in December to allow us time to process this information.

    HOW MANY STUDENTS WILL BE SPONSORED?

    We currently sponsor over 200 students per academic year.