How Poverty Affects Education

Why Are Children Living in Poverty Less Likely to Attend School?

UNICEF estimates that 1 in 6 children live in extreme poverty; millions of children do not have access to nutritious food, clean water or other life-saving resources.1 Children living in poverty are at risk for illness, injury, child labor, violence and much more. Poverty is a global crisis that disproportionately affects children.

Lack of resources

Children living in poverty often do not have the resources to attend school. Many families must choose between using their money to send their children to school or using it for rent, food or even medical care.

Parents Saelig and Dalora worked hard to provide for their family of five.2 Despite long hours of tiring work, Saelig and Dalora could not afford to send their son, Sven, to school. One day, GFA child sponsorship program staff visited Saelig and Dalora’s home to meet the family. The staff shared about GFA’s child sponsorship program; Saelig and Dalora enrolled Sven shortly afterward.

Staff at the child sponsorship program provided Sven and his family with any supplies they needed but could not afford, like books, uniforms and tutoring. They also taught Sven about germs, hygiene and hand-washing practices to prevent disease. GFA’s child sponsorship program gave Sven crucial support so he could attend school.

Prior to his enrollment in the GFA child sponsorship program, Sven’s story echoed many others; millions of children living in poverty do not have the financial or physical resources to attend school or complete their education.

Lack of consistency

Many children living in poverty experience homelessness or frequent moves that prevent them from attending school regularly; others may do work in fields, factories or mines during the day.

Children who do not attend school regularly fall behind on coursework because they do not complete homework or understand the material. Inconsistent school attendance lowers children’s grades and understanding of school materials; infrequent attendance also lowers their motivation to attend classes.

Want to get involved? GFA World has been joining efforts worldwide to alleviate poverty for decades. GFA’s programs like child sponsorship, Jesus wells, gifts of income generating animals and vocational skills training can provide relief and hope to families in Asia and Africa experiencing poverty. However, we cannot do that work without you! Please prayerfully consider giving to one of GFA World’s ministries to help provide help and hope to children and families experiencing poverty.

Learn about how poverty affects education

1 “1 in 6 Children Lives in Extreme Poverty, World Bank-UNICEF Analysis Shows.” UNICEF. 20 October 2020.
2 “Given Tools, Boy Thrives.” GFA World. 7 February 2022.