School In A Bag

Can’t go to school – “School in a Bag” comes to you

“School-in-a-Bag” is the key to the success of our program. Each bag contains the teachers’ manuals, student workbooks, mp3 player, blackboards, chalk, stationary, games and resources, everything our volunteers need to teach a small group of children – buildings are optional!

Our “School-in-Bag” –

Offers open and free access to education,
Provides instruction through trained volunteers, and
Encourages hope through,
Needs based literacy, numeracy, health, and life skills teaching.

Set in a safe environment,
Christ-centered, child focused, and provides
Healing for traumatized children.
Operates in an informal setting and uses an
Organised and individualised learning system by
Local partners.



Offers open and free access to education

School in a Bag is offered free of charge to children who have become educationally marginalised through poverty, the need to work for survival, the time constraints of caring for family or through other circumstances beyond their control which have made their attendance at traditional school either impossible or very infrequent.
Typically our learners have some or all of the following characteristics

  • Children aged 7 – 15
  • In urban areas, they are most likely be street children
  • In rural areas, they are most likely to be orphans or children caring for their siblings or sick parents
  • They have never attended school and are unable to read and write
  • Learners who have attended school but have a large gap in their education may also benefit from the programme if they need to go back to basics and are unable to read or write

Provides instruction through trained volunteers

Open School Worldwide staff train and support volunteer teachers, recruited from churches schools or local partners:

  • The volunteers may be our partners staff, senior citizens, early retired, or people with free time, they may also be senior learners from a Christian school
  • They will not usually be trained teachers
  • They must be competent in reading and writing English
  • They may know little about street children or orphans but will be given some initial training
  • They are offered specialised help when needed
  • They must commit to serve a small group of children for at least one year

Encourages hope

Education builds self confidence and equips children to better face the future, but that is not the only hope the program encourages. The literacy and mathematics curriculum is called “Count Me In” to convey the good news that, while society may have neglected the learners, God certainly has not. Each one is special because they are loved by God and He wants them to be “counted in to” His Kingdom. We offer the program to children of any faith and place no pressure on them to accept Christ, but our volunteers clearly and practically demonstrate God’s love.

Needs based literacy, mathematics, health, and life skills teaching

The core element of the “School-in-a-Bag” is a basic literacy and mathematics course called “Count Me In” specially developed in South Africa. OSWW produced the material in consultation with educators and street workers experienced in working with educationally marginalised children. We field tested with street children in four different locations in South Africa. OSWW designed the material to be interactive, enjoyable and taking into account the short attention span normal to unschooled children. The program cannot offer the full range of activities available to learners in full-time schooling but aims to meet the learners’ needs by bringing them to a point where they are able to enter the field of work or return to school.

All the materials are designed to be used by non-teachers and require some training.

Set in a safe environment

Open Schools Worldwide has developed a child protection policy which must be adhered to by all staff and volunteers. Our volunteers are required to choose a safe location for the learners and themselves that must also be convenient for the children.

Christ-centered, child focused

The materials we offer are intended to enrich the teaching of Truth–God’s Word revealed through Scripture as well as through creation. Our volunteers are trained and expected to model a Christian mind and life in their teaching and leading. Our vision is that each child should be enabled to reach their full potential in Christ.

Healing for traumatized children

The majority of our learners have faced trauma in their lives and need healing before they can begin their learning programme. Our volunteers are trained to use a Bible counselling program.

Operates in an informal setting

The traditional school model requires children to attend a set location at a time and place fixed by the institution. Unfortunately, children who are forced to work through poverty, or who have to care for ill parents or orphaned siblings simply do not have the time to fit into this rigid system. Open School is delivered through short lessons on a flexible timetable arranged to best meet the needs of the learners. The advantage of the “school-in-a-Bag” is that “school” can be brought to the learners at place most convenient for them. Learning can take place on the street, under a village tree, in the open air, at their home or at a local church.

Organized and individualized learning system

Our volunteer teachers are trained to use a specially designed Learning Management System which aims to track each learner’s progress and also keep them motivated.

The system components can include:

  • A regularly updated database with attendance record
  • A record of academic progress
  • A learners Profile to monitor changes in the learner’s attitude to their peers, themselves, education, authority and God
  • A learning contract describing the behaviour expected and agreed to by each learner

Local partners

Open Schools Worldwide recognise that the children we seek to serve have needs that are not just educational. We work through local partners who have the knowledge and resources to ensure that the various needs of each individual child can be managed in a coordinated, skilled and appropriate manner.

See how students are actually renting their desks for a day so that children in Africa can have a desk of their own