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 1st February 2013 to 30th June 2013

The beneficiaries' families:

Valentina's objective is to offer the families - who are really desirous of seeing their children break from the cycle of misery and who are convinced that it will be through education and school. For these families who show this strong determination, Valentina is ready to take on the co-responsibility in the children's education with academic help, regular contact with the schools, growth and global development of the child including medical, hygiene and psychological help. Many children enter the program as of pre-school because the experience shows that exclusion begins in first grade, if the children had not attended pre-school.

Valentina helps currently 55 families, whose children go to Kindergarten in the 6 schools of the district of Ferentari ; in September 2012, the association was able to enroll 60 children aged from 3 to 6, which is an increase of 15% compared to the previous school year. Most of the parents are implicated in the daily life of Valentina in a way or another:

Mothers are asked to participate to the cleaning of the home; every day a mother on a cycling manner comes and cleans the full house after school hours. Fathers on their side are coming from time to time to dig the garden, pour the flowers, paint the fence, etc...

A month ago, Valentina decided to launch a large campaign to repaint most of the class rooms, so families were asked to participate to this campaign during the week of school vacation. It has been a real success: the stairs, the 2 class-rooms and the hall have been totally refreshed with new paint and new decorations for the walls.

Action for the children on the 1st of June : International Day of the Child.

With the children of the Daily Center, Valentina organized a full day activity at the nearest park with football games for the boys and soft activities for the girls. For the youth of the Kindergarten, the association received a donation with educative material such as, books, drawing books, pen and color pencil, etc.. that Valentina gave to its 60 children at Kindergarten.

Preparation of the new school year 2013 - 2014

The social workers have launched in March and April 2013 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 the association should visit individually each family; this task is done with consciousness every year. In June, when the compilation of all demands is ready, the association runs a Council Meeting to finalize the selection; this year they have to discuss about 60 new files to fill-up the 29 positions available for the new comers.

Results of the School year 2012 - 2013 and Trend over years

The Public pre-school in Romania is free but the association pays the school, for its children, an allowance which covers the cost of lunch and school supplies. Without the support of the association, 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 in class "0" at the primary school for children aged 6 years. Several children entered in this program with severe anemia. In one year of pre-school, with proper diet, their condition improved. Also, many of the children who entered in our program at 3 years old, couldn't verbally communicate; in one year of pre-school, they could recite little poems. This is why the association should enroll a maximum number of children, giving them the chance to enter the educational system at the appropriate moment.

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 the association encourages through various help programs: training sessions, enrollment to "second chance school for adult", enrollment in our reinsertion sewing workshop at Valentina.

The regular attendance and behavior of the children at school are checked by the social worker so as to encourage early on healthy habits or to detect anything that is not normal as soon as possible. The social worker for the preschoolers registered the children in the program and she maintains the follow-up. With another adult, she visits each family once a trimester and writes a report on each visit. At the end of the school year, she will suggest welcoming the child in the daily center program if the family has asked for this and the criteria has been met. For all these reasons, the association pays a special attention to this program.

School year

Number of children at start of year

Number of new children at start of year

Number of dropouts during school year

Admitted to first grade  school at end of school year

Reasons for  drop-out during school year

2010-2011

62

33

14

26

 

6 parents did not pay the school fees owed by them,  6 parents did not fulfill their agreement, 2 other reasons

2011

2012

 

52

 

20

 

6

 

20

1 deceased, 1 health issue, 1  upon mother’s request, 3 parents did not bring children to school and break the engagement

2012

2013

60

44

2

27

2 moved  from Bucharest

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 behavior 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 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 daily center program if the family has asked for this and the criteria has been met.

Conclusions, Results and Annual Balance

With the help of the Nando Peretti Foundation, the association registered as many children as they could according to the funds, 60 in 2012-2013 school year, an increase of 15% as compared to previous year
immediate: children have a chance at education, they are qualified to enter first grade
long term: children get used to schooling system and integrate easily primary school
From the chart above , you may have seen that the „drop out" of school has drastically decreased along the last three years ; which is very encouraging.
poor children have access to the same opportunities as children from other socio-economic groups.

think global, act local
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