What is STELAS?
The Support Team for Education and Learning Associations, Inc. (STELAS) is a non-profit organization founded in February, 2008 to promote and support higher learning for children in developing countries. Our current focus is on West and Central Africa, but we plan to extend our services to other developing countries as our organization grows.
A literate populace is crucial to the development of a nation in the 21st Century. Without literacy, countries as well as individuals are held back from realizing their full potential. Yet literacy in the third world is stymied. According to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 98% of the world’s illiterate population lives in the developing world. In areas like sub-Saharan Africa, primary school enrollment has declined in recent years, dropping from 58% to 50%.
On World Literacy Day 2006, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated, “The precious gift of literacy can sustain development only if it is itself sustained—by post-literacy programs, further opportunities for education and training, and the creation of “literate environments” in which literacy can thrive.
What STELAS is doing
We offer scholarships to young people and children who would otherwise be forced to drop out of school. These include young women who have the potential to advance through teacher training programs. We donate textbooks to middle and high schools. And we help create school environments “in which literacy can thrive” by funding and/or organizing improvements to school facilities (see projects page) and in some cases by arranging the volunteer services of visiting teachers or professors.
How STELAS is funded
Currently, our income is generated solely through donations from individuals and businesses throughout the United States, Europe (mainly France), and Africa. Now that STELAS has been in existence for two years, we are qualified to apply for grants from charitable foundations. We plan to do so in the near future to supplement our income from individual contributions. Since STELAS is comprised strictly of volunteers, 85 cents of every dollar donated go directly to the recipients of our programs. (For more information, see DONATE page.)