Supporting the Activities of the “Casa Valentina” Rumenian Association for the School Education of Roma Children in Bucharest

Project location: ROMANIA, Ferentari, South of Bucharest
Project start date: July 2012 - Project end date: June 2013
Project number: 2012-063
Beneficiary: FIDESCO

Timeline of the present activity report: From  July 2012 to March 2013


Pre-schooling: In September 2012, Association Valentina was able to enroll 60 children aged from 4 to 7 in pre-schools of our district, which is an increase of 15% compared to the previous school year.

The social workers have launched in March and April 2012 a series of social surveys among all families having made a request to join Casa Valentina for their children. This is a long process since they should visit individually each family, there has been in reality more than 52 surveys completed at that moment. This task is done with consciousness and serious every year. In June, when the compilation of all demands is ready, the appropriate members run a Council Meeting to finalize the selection; this year they had to discuss about 44 new files to fill-up the 60 positions available.

The Public pre-school in Romania is free but one has to pay the school, for our children, an allowance which covers the cost of lunch and school supplies. Without the support of Association Valentiuna, many children of this area could not go to school, which in turn would be a very significant penalty for these children, mainly in terms of socialization, education, health screening. In addition, the pre-school program is a pre-requisite to the inscription to the primary school for children aged 7 years. This is why Association Valentina should enroll the maximum number of children, giving them the chance to enter the educational system at the appropriate moment. For more strongly empower families in their role as parents, Association Valentina asks them to sign a pledge of fidelity "to school"

In addition, during the time where children are at school, mothers may have a part time job to improve the financial resources of the family; this is what Association Valentina encourages through various help programs: training sessions, enrolment to "second chance school for adult", enrolment in our reinsertion sewing workshop,

For all these above reasons, Association valentina pays a special attention to this program.

Another aspect of the situation in this area is that most of the Kindergartens of this sector of Bucharest are brand new and of excellent quality. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable and dedicated for young children; this is a real chance for these children and their family. They can spend 6 to 7 hours every school day in a safe and clean environment. Unfortunately this is not at all the case at home.

The regular attendance and behaviour of the children at school are checked by the social workers during periodic visits to the school so as to encourage early on healthy habits or to detect anything that is abnormal at the earliest possible. If necessary, the psychologist of the association is meeting children with disabilities and their families. In some cases, therapy is implemented with the agreement of parents.

The social worker having registered the children in the program off Association Valentina will get responsible of the follow-up with the families, with the school and with other administrative instances. With another adult, she visits each family once a trimester and writes a report upon each visit. At the end of the school year, she will suggest welcoming the child in the day center program if the family has asked for this and the criteria has been met.

Results

Association Valentina helps as many children as possible according to the available funds, 60 in 2012-2013 school year, an increase of 15% as compare to previous year
immediate: children have a chance at education, they are qualified to enter first grade
long term: children get used to schooling and integrate easily
there are fewer children who drop out and more children get an education
poor children have access to the same opportunities as children from other socio-economic groups

Summer Camp 2012 at Simon (near Bran - Transylvania)

This year's camp was from July 1 to 6 at Simon.

Herewith, the summary written upon returning to Bucharest: « Children are leaving this Sunday, July 1 at 7 am for their camp near Moeciu by Jos, they are 21 children ages 8 to 12 years old and 7 adults. A stop is planned at Petrosani for 2 hour of very interesting arts and craft activities: pottery and icons on glass; the children really appreciated this. After lunch there, we took off again and arrived at our destination at 5 pm: « Casa Cretu » at Simon, near Moeciu by Jos. It is a superb inn, very well maintained and totally adapted to host groups of children with outdoor playground equipment, trampoline, Ping-Pong, a few tables in the shade for drawing or other craft activities. The meals were delicious and plentiful.

Children spent four days in the inn, four days to visit the area sights: Sighi┼čoara, the citadel of Râsnov, the city of Brasov and the discovery of communal life. The children, from underprivileged families, were so happy to be there. The bedrooms were comfortable, a beautiful dining room, the meals were artistically presented; it is a good education in respecting one's neighbor and respect of the property. After the day's visits, the children could relax outside at the playground, color or draw pictures, or play a board game or even take a walk or two around the inn with an adult who was available to go with them: wild flowers, trees, a mountain steam are as much of a marvel for our citizens. The evenings were filled with games and music until lights out at 10 pm. Our last evening together, children spent at a campfire singing songs to show our joy and thanks to the owners of the inn. Friday, July 6: it is already time to leave after having inspected each bedroom to leave it clean. Children arrived back at « Casa Valentina » at 2 pm and the parents and families were waiting for them. Volonteers had a beautiful week and shared a beautiful experience with these children. »

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