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Frontpage News 2016 I want my children to study

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Maria is thankful that Delia (on her arm) got the opportunity to go to preschool. Photographer: FMO / Maria Knoph Vigsnaes

I want my children to study

  • “The project ‘A good start’ made it possible for me to go to work and support my girls, because my youngest daughter was enrolled in 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.

    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.

    Delia Delia started preschool two years ago, she loves to paint and write letters. Photo Credit: Maria Knoph Vigsnaes/FMO
    Estera Estera is now starting 4th grade. Photo Credit: Maria Knoph Vigsnaes/FMO

    Read more about the EEA Grants' efforts to increase school attendance among the most vulnerable children in Romania

    “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.

    She is pleased that her girls are familiar and comfortable with the education system from an early age.

    RO children study 2 The preschool is a safe place for Delia while her mother is working to support the family. Photo Credit: Maria Knoph Vigsnaes/FMO

    “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.

    Read more about the 'Funds for non-Governmental organisations' programme in Romania

  • Country:


    Project title:

    A Good Start – Encouraging the early childhood education in the community of Glina

    Project number:


    Priority sector:

    Civil Society


    € 75000



    Project promoter:

    Roma Center for Social Intervention and Studies Romani CRISS

    Type of Institution:


    Project duration:

    15 months

    Project cost:

    € 83,500

    Grant from:

    EEA Grants

    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.