Modern education for women in the Arab world is of relatively recent origin. The first modern schools were opened in Egypt (1829), Lebanon (1835) and Iraq (1898). In other countries like Kuwait, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, modern education for women is a product of the 20th century. Africa’s current primary school enrolment rate is above 80% on average, with the continent recording some of the biggest increases in elementary school enrolment globally in the last few decades


One of the primary goals of the Ruth Robb Foundation is to facilitate the creation and strengthening of early childhood education necessary for children from low-income families to reach their full potential. 

All children deserve access to opportunities that support them to thrive—in school, at home, and in the community. Yet, for tens of millions of children across Asia, their families, and their communities, access to such opportunities is affected by historic and present-day policies and practices that work in reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequities. 

Children from low-income families do not have the same access to high-quality educational opportunities as do their peers. Their educational outcomes are lower. The opportunity and achievement gaps start early and result in much lower rates of college completion and social mobility for these children. While a high-quality education is important across a child’s life, much of the brain’s development occurs during the early years. This makes it an essential time to reduce educational disparities and improve the lives of children.   The Foundation’s work in education spans Asia with a particular emphasis on India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.