I want my children to study
“The project ‘A good start’ made it possible for me to work and support my girls, because my daughter was able to go to preschool,” says Maria.
She is only 24 years old and lives with her two daughters, Estera (10) and Delia (4), in the community of Glina in the Bucharest area. As a single parent she is dependent on working as much as possible. In 2014 the project ‘A good start’ made her living situation easier.
“The public preschool did not admit my youngest daughter because she was under three years old. I did not have anyone who could take care of her. This project made it possible for me to work. I knew Delia was safe because the project staff picked her up in the morning and brought her back in the afternoon, and she had lunch there,” says Maria.
130 children in school
“I love preschool because I can paint,” says Delia.
She is 4 years old and one of the 130 children who participated in the EEA Grants supported project ‘A good start’ that started in 2014. The project, consisting of one psychologist, one coordinator, and two teachers, provided not only basic needs and moral support for 130 children, but also guidance to 150 parents. A new day centre for early childhood education was established in the community of Glina.
Delia started preschool two years ago, she loves to paint and write letters. Photo Credit: Maria Knoph Vigsnaes/FMO Estera is now starting 4th grade. Photo Credit: Maria Knoph Vigsnaes/FMO
Reduce the gap
“Many children do not have proper clothing or shoes for school and are sometimes being bullied or discriminated. They are not wanted in class because they smell or do not wear proper clothes,” says Ioana Florea, Team Leader at The Civil Society Development Foundation in Romania.
The foundation implemented the project, which aims to encourage an early childhood education and to empower vulnerable groups and reduce the gap between Roma and non-Roma children’s school performance.
The preschool is a safe place for Delia while her mother is working to support the family. Photo Credit: Maria Knoph Vigsnaes/FMO
“They will not hire me”
“I would like for my girls to study and get a proper job. When I apply for better jobs, they require a minimum education of ten grades. I stayed in school only until fourth grade, so they will not hire me. I really want my girls to have the possibility to study more than I did,” says Maria.
Maria wants her children to stay in school as long as possible. Photo Credit: Maria Knoph Vigsnaes/FMO
She is pleased that her girls are familiar and comfortable with the education system from an early age.
“We choose to focus on the early education because poor children usually do not attend preschool. The parents do not always understand the importance of early socialising and learning, and it is also expensive,” says Ioana.
According to the Roma Center for Social Intervention and Studies Romani (CRISS), the project was well received by both parents and children.
“They see the project as being helpful, and it increases their social status within the community,” Ioana says.
A Good Start – Encouraging the early childhood education in the community of Glina
Roma Center for Social Intervention and Studies Romani CRISS
Type of Institution:
The project proposed by Romani CRISS is addressing the problem related to the inter-ethnical relations in rural communities and the gaps between Roma and Non-Roma children’s’ pre-scholar and scholar activity. Main objectives: reducing the gaps between roma and non-roma children when it comes to school performance at the level when they are enrolled into the first class, combating social exclusion and intercultural conflicts, improving the access of the Roma and non-roma to early childhood services by facilitating the access to quality early childhood education for minimum 80 children between 0 – 6/7 and 50 children between 7-14. Expected results: increasing the numbers of the children enrolled to kindergarten, increasing the attendance, improving the relation between roma and non-roma, involvement of the parents in the educational process of their children, 130 children benefiting of the moral and material support through the project, 150 counseled parents, a day center for early childhood education established in the community, 8 roma paraprofessionals trained, materials for early education developed.