Quality Education Is for All

Quality Education Is for All! is a project implemented in four community centres by Fundaţia Română pentru Copii, Comunitate şi Familie (Romanian Foundation for Children, Community and Family) that aligns with the mission of the foundation to support vulnerable and marginalised children so that they can grow in a safe family environment and benefit from the education and health care they need.

The objectives of the project funded by SEE Grants 2009-2014 under the NGO Fund in Romania:

  1. to facilitate school inclusion of children belonging to disadvantaged families, who are at risk of poverty, school failure, behavioural problems, social isolation and margina­lisation, discrimination, family conflict situations, physical and emotional abuse, juvenile delinquency, etc.
  2. to support children develop social skills that help them overcome crisis situations they have to cope with in their family and school environments, develop their self-esteem and gain confidence in their ability to find the right way in life.
  3. To develop the organisational capacity-building through growth and a greater variety of social care activities, staff training, development and implementation of internal standard operating procedures, foundation performance measurement in order to provide professional social care services, increased transparency, and visibility.

The target groups of the four community centres belong to the underdeveloped areas in Câmpia Turzii and Cluj-Napoca towns and the rural areas in Popeşti (Bihor county) and Viişoara (Cluj county).

150 selected beneficiaries are attending educational activities and counselling sessions held in the four community centres. The multidisciplinary team consisting of 58 people, of whom are 35 experts, are supporting the students’ inclusive education, preventing therefore school failure.

 

Project Description

Over 17 years of responsible experience demonstrated us that diversified community-based social services increase the children’s chances of success. These community centres deliver comprehensive services to facilitate school inclusion of children from disadvantaged families, while providing a variety of services for their parents as well. The experts of the community centres offer professional social care services, increasing thus the quality of life for the people who ask for care, support, and advice.

The deepening of the economic crisis worsened the situation of the families who during previous years benefited from educational and social services on behalf of our foundation and pushed them to continue asking for our support. They are experiencing multiple disadvantages at the moment through their house expenses, food insecurity, and clothing for children. Both them and the schools we have developed with a close working relationship throughout these years constantly report us poor academic performance of children who lack protective services.

 

Families’ Background

Family Structure

  • the average number of family members whose children go to the community centres is 4.5;
  • 6% of the families are single-parent or have no parents;
  • 44.7% of the project families are Romanian, 29.5% Roma, 20,3% Hungarian and 5.5% of mixed ethnicity.

Living Standards

  • the average income is of 236.7 lei/ family member;
  • 36% of the mothers and 16% of the fathers have no source of income;
  • 9% of the families live on social security benefits;
  • 44.8% have debts to pay maintenance;
  • 31% of the families do not own a home;
  • 14.5% are lacking appropriate clothing for cold season;
  • 34% of the families are experiencing food insecurity that is lack of food or reduced amount of food as a serious problem.

Utilities: 15.5% of families do not have water supply in the house, 10% have no record for gas, 33% have no bathroom, 17% no kitchen, and the average number of rooms is 1.7.

Educational Level of the Parents: 7.3% of them have no form of education, and 10% have completed only primary level education.

Family Members’ Healthcare: 25% of the adults and 16% of the children are suffering from at least one disease.

 

Who Are the Beneficiaries of Our Services?

150 children who are attending the community centers have been selected following social inquiries carried out by the social workers in Cluj-Napoca, Câmpia Turzii, Viişoara, and Popeşti.

Children’s selection criteria:

  1. age: 6-18 years;
  2. socially disadvantaged groups: low income/ family member, poor living conditions, Roma ethnic belonging;
  3. risk of school failure due to grade retention, school dropout, unsatisfactory academic performance, skipping school, and low school/ education motivation;
  4. behavioral problems due to marginalization and discrimination.

The children’s family members can also benefit from FRCCF services, depending on the test results, interviews, and social inquiries conducted by the centre psychologists and social workers. They are offered social and psychological counseling, parental education, and other related services that build and support relationship with their children.

The culture of poverty, as a way of life and system of values within the families assisted by our foundation throughout so many years (some of the families have been benefiting from our services since ‘93-‘97) strongly works against our and/or other organizations interventions in the field.

Generally, children from these families are being left without decent adult role models. The culture of the market economy and the values of a democratic society do not reach them by any other means than the media, where the examples are not necessarily role models in life. Thus, children only dream of rapid enrichment without recognizing the importance and role of education to escape poverty.

On the other hand, family problems are often very tough, they cannot overcome the effects of poverty, and cannot invest in education. These families lack the material resources necessary to provide a secure and stable environment for their children. Lack of education or insufficient education of adults lead to inability to access jobs that require professional qualification whereas unskilled, insecure, and poorly paid labor close the circle of poverty and deprivation. It was created a dependency on social services that can block and discourage beneficiaries in their approach to achieving financial and social autonomy.

Therefore, this project targets two fields of involvement: education from early childhood in order to form life skills and abilities to enable separation of poverty in adult life, and transmission of norms and values for building acceptable social behavior and knowledge (support to successfully meet school requirements). We provide children and their parents practical knowledge that will help them efficiently develop and manage their resources.

Thus, developing appropriate social services, by the end of project implementation, our outcomes will have a significant long-terms impact in our beneficiaries’ life through:

  • Reduced number of children who abandon school;
  • Successful end of the school year for students at risk of school failure and going back to school of those who abandoned it;
  • Making correct decisions, assumptions of responsibility, social norms and rules, non violent ways of resolving conflict situations, appropriate relationships with friends, mates, and adults, leading a healthy lifestyle;
  • Improving the adjustment and social integration of children and their families;
  • Increasing the social cohesion and collaboration between parents, children, community centre staff, teachers in schools, and local authorities.

Community Centres

EveryChild Community Centre, Cluj-Napoca

The Centre works in Cluj-Napoca, str. Ilie Măcelaru nr. 6.

Beneficiaries:

  • 45 children, 22 girls and 23 boys, aged 7 to 15 years;
  • 34 families

Selection Criteria:

  • poverty
  • school inclusion level
  • academic performance
  • essential knowledge and skills by grade level
  • emotional, behavioral, and motivational profile

FRCCF team

  • centre coordinator
  • social workers (2)
  • psychologist
  • special educator teacher
  • Romanian language teacher
  • Mathematics teacher
  • school mediator

Community Centre Services and Activities

  • Special education support and homework supervision to children with learning issues, in order to develop their learning abilities and increase their motivation for learning.
  • Tutoring sessions for students who have difficulty in their Romanian language and literature and Math subjects, to prevent subject matter or grade retention.
  • Social and psychological counseling to children with behavioral and school adjustment problems and low motivation for school activities.
  • Personal development as an approach of acquiring pro-social behaviors.
  • Professional guiding to parents that is parental, educational, social, and psychological counseling on matters related to school, their children’s academic performance, awareness about the importance of education and the support given to their children.

I Am Giving Back to My Community Centre

I am 15 and volunteer for EveryChild community centre, after being myself a beneficiary of its services.

I come from a twelve children family and live with my mom and siblings. I am in the 9th grade.

I really like working with children and offer my skills and go daily to the community centre.

The centre helped me improve my grades and change my behavior. I have so many stories about my time here. I really enjoyed the community centre activities and participated in almost all. I also benefited from tutoring sessions in Math and Romanian language. I liked the Math teacher because always she patiently explained me what I did not understand. She made me in to the person I am today and thanks to her I feel great supporting children with homework supervision. All the people who assisted me with homework, that is Alexandra, Andreea, Odesa the Math teacher, Viorelia the social worker, and Mimi the psychologist did care about me no matter what had happened or how messed up I was.

I began volunteering my time because I like to help children with their homework and other various activities. I can’t express enough how much the centre meant to me. They became like family to me.

echipa

Popeşti Community Centre

Prietenia (Friendship), the community centre based at the Town Hall of the village, provides an educational programme in order to meet the developmental, social, and educational needs of children in a caring and stimulating environment. The centre supports children from the placement centre and the families in need from the village in order to overcome communication barriers.

FRCCF team:

  • centre coordinator
  • psychologist
  • special educator teacher
  • social worker
  • Mathematics teacher
  • Romanian language teacher

Community Centre Services and Activities:

  • social work services
  • tutoring sessions
  • homework supervision
  • special education support
  • school guidance
  • psychological counseling
  • recreation and leisure activities
  • social counseling
  • educational counseling

Beneficiaries: 30 children aged 6 to 18 years from disadvantageous families in the community.

 

A Big THANK YOU

Ten year old Raul lives with his family in a Roma community close to Popeşti. The family’s socio-economic status (including parental educational levels) is low. They live on social security benefits and state benefits for children.

Raul’s first contact with the educational environment was at the special inclusive kindergarten from the village. Following the activities, support, and recovery therapies he benefited from, Raul progressed in education and could enroll in the mainstream school in the village. He finished the first and second grades of primary school with satisfactory results.

Raul joined our project in the beginning of the third grade. He actively involved in the educational activities at the community centre (homework supervision and special education support). Thus, in the first semester he not only got FB qualifiers (very well) but was almost at the top of his class for academic performance. He improved his self-esteem and developed social and communication skills. He also involved in leisure activities with a range of positive outcomes. His parents are very proud of Raul’s good school results and thank the community centre professionals for their work and support.

echipa 2014-2015

echipa 2014-2015

 

Câmpia Turzii Community Centre

The community centre from Câmpia Turzii, placed in the downtown area (str. Liviu Rebreanu, nr. 2) has 7 spacious rooms suitable for running the project Quality Education Is for All!

Beneficiaries: 45 children (17 girls and 13 boys) including 16 students from the grade 1 to 4 and 29 from the grade 5 to 8.

FRCCF team:

  • centre coordinator
  • psychologist
  • special educator teacher
  • social workers (2)
  • school mediator
  • Mathematics teacher
  • Romanian language teacher

Community Centre Services and Activities:

  • social work services
  • tutoring sessions
  • homework supervision
  • special education support
  • school guidance
  • psychological counselling
  • recreation and leisure activities
  • social counselling

 

The Community Centre, a Caring Home with Friends

Liviu’s parents left their family in search of work abroad. Both he and his brothers were relegated to the care of their grandparents. They had to adjust to this situation which had an impact in his school performance. Liviu finished the 1st grade with an “S” average qualifier (satisfactory, actually meaning passing) for the basic subjects – Mathematics and Romanian language – to the great dismay of grandparents who were disappointed on his academic achievement and behavior.

Since Liviu has been selected as a beneficiary of the community centre, he enjoys attending educational activities such as homework supervision and special education support. His academic performance has improved and graduated the first semester with a B qualifier (good) both in Mathematics and Romanian language. Liviu became more involved in the centre activities showing progress and positive attitudes towards school. He likes practicing addition, multiplications, and divisions, making up sentences with different words and masters well academic skills such as reading, writing, and counting. He can handle homework himself to improve his grades and study habits, and feels great about the hard working he is doing. Moreover, he feels encouraged to repeat performances.

Liviu also get involved in plenty of socializing activities, painting classes and ping-pong being his most favorite ones. He interacts well with other children at the community centre and is very happy of making and keeping friends there.

Campia Turzii_echipa

Viişoara Community Centre

The community centre from Viişoara is located in the Secondary School of the village.

Beneficiaries: 30 children (17 girls and 13 boys) from the grade 5 to 8.

FRCCF team:

  • centre coordinator
  • psychologist
  • special educator teacher
  • social worker
  • school mediator
  • Mathematics teacher
  • Romanian language teacher

Community Centre Services and Activities:

  • social work services
  • tutoring sessions
  • homework supervision
  • special education support
  • school guidance
  • psychological counseling
  • recreation and leisure activities
  • social counseling
  • personal development

Achievement – oriented Attitudes

Andrei’s family consists of four people with healthy relationships between family members. The parents educational level is low and they cannot help him with homework. In addition, they have tough financial problems since their income consists of the state benefits for children, social security benefits, and the father’s salary as a daily worker.

Andrei is in the 7th grade. He enrolled in our project with a history of grade retention as a result of skipping classes and poor behavior grade. His interaction with negative peer group pressure and father’s working abroad influenced his behavior leading to negative attitudes about school and lowered academic performance.

He benefited from individual and group counseling sessions and personal development groups, developed the sense of self-knowledge, find out his strengths and weaknesses. Andrei has acquired optimal methods for resolving conflicts in his peer group.

After constantly attending social, psychological, and pedagogical counseling sessions to address a range of issues, he realized the importance of improving his academic performance engaging in the educational activities of the centre. He is now convinced that these should turn into successful outcomes across his future development.

The student’s family, especially his mother, benefited from educational counseling at home, counseling focusing on what changes can be made by the child and parents to improve the child’s behavior. The mother’s collaboration with our professionals was very good and gave the parent and child the opportunity to improve his behavior, academic performance, and encouraged him to develop high expectations of his own. Andrei made new friends in the community centre breaking up with bad company and took seriously his school duties.

Andrei developed the confidence that education and knowledge acquisition are to be valued. Thus, he finished the first school term with successful outcomes: an average of 7.23, good behavior grade, and no subject retention.

Andrei turned into a conscious teenager who understood that high quality education in life would give him the best start.

 

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