Empowering The Poor tackles the root causes of poverty. The lack of equitable educational opportunities and access to clean water is both a root cause and consequence of poverty.

1. We combat the WATER CRISIS by providing sustainable access to safe and clean water, and healthy sanitation and hygiene practices.

  • · According to the World Bank (2015), 350 million people lack access to clean water and healthy sanitation.
  • · 115 people in Africa die every hour from diseases linked to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, and contaminated water.
  • · African women and children spend 40 billion hours a year walking to fetch water from unclean water sources such as swamps, rivers, etc.
  • · Access to clean water in the village gives women and children more time to grow food, earn an income, and go to school, which will ultimately help them break the cycle of poverty.
  • · Clean water and flush toilets at school and throughout the village means more time in school, especially for girls.
  • · Contaminated water can transmit diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio.
  • · The World Bank estimates that water-related illnesses kill more African children under age five than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and measles combined.

    2. We combat INEQUITY IN EDUCATION by providing high-quality and equitable educational opportunities to all low-income children and adults with and without disabilities.

  • · Of all regions, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of education exclusion with 34 million school-aged children (UNESCO, 2017).
  • · 60% of children between the ages of 15 and 17 are not in school; nine (9) million girls between the ages of 6 and 11 will never go to school compared to 6 million boys (World Bank, 2018).
  • · According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2016), one in every three children, adolescents and youth in sub-Saharan Africa are out of school.
  • · Fewer than 10 percent of children with disabilities in Africa attend school (World Bank, 2018) as many students with disabilities never enroll in school or drop out prematurely.
  • · There is a persistent and pervasive educational opportunity gap in the U.S. Low-income African American and Hispanic students continue to lag behind in math, reading, and writing when compared to their white counterparts. The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), the largest organization that provides continuous assessment of American students’ learning in core subject areas in the U.S, reported disproportionate educational outcomes in Mathematics and reading. Below is the percentage of students performing at or above the NAEP proficient level in math in 2019.
  • In the U.S, Empowering The Poor provides social-emotional and academic support through its Ubuntu Mentoring Program. Uncle Coulibaly started the Ubuntu Mentoring program as a result of his frustrations with public schools’ failure to provide equitable educational opportunities to low-income students of color. As a special education teacher at a high-poverty school, Uncle Coulibaly’s frustrations with the persistent and pervasive educational opportunity gap grew taller than his goofy seven feet tall body frame. It took him the first ten years of his teaching career to realize that the educational opportunity gap finds its roots into the legacies of racially segregated neighborhoods and schools, school resegregation, unequal access to qualified teachers, lack of access to high-quality and culturally relevant curriculum, colorism, poverty, and lack of access to culturally responsive teaching.

    After years of listening actively to low-income parents and students of color, and his experience as a classroom teacher, Uncle Coulibaly started a mentoring program built on the principles of Ubuntu, an African philosophy/ethics. Ubuntu captures the underlying principles of interdependence, solidarity, love, personal responsibility, courage, mental strength, collective responsibility, pan Africanism, solidarity, peace, and humanism in African life. “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” translates from the Bantu language “I am because we are; and since we are, therefore I am”. In other words, whatever happens to the individual happens to the whole village and whatever happens to the whole village happens to the individual. Ubuntu highlights the communal embeddedness and the concept of “it takes a village to raise a child”.

    Who Can Be an Ubuntu Mentor?

    Any college student or professional living in the Fredericksburg-Stafford-Spotsylvania area who is willing to be trained as a Ubuntu Mentor and willing to go through our rigorous and comprehensive mentor check-in (criminal background check, child abuse registry check, sex-offender registry check, driver’s license check, an interview, and an ongoing criminal background checks throughout the year) is strongly encouraged to apply for a Ubuntu Mentor position. This is a volunteer position (no compensation) that requires a minimum commitment of one day (60-90 minutes) of mentoring per week.

    Make an impactful difference in the lives of young people by applying to the Ubuntu Mentor position. As a mentor, you will help a K12 student cope successfully with his/her academic challenges. You could be the additional support that will make a difference between success and failure, graduating versus dropping out, pursuing a career versus getting a job after high school. Please email coulibaly@empoweringthepoor.org if you are interested in the Ubuntu Mentor position or if you have any questions.

    Partner with us to Empower the Poor Today!!!