STAY IN SCHOOL

STAY IN SCHOOL – scholarships and school dropout prevention in Costesti

 

Partner & sponsor: Vodafone Foundation Romanialogo-fundatie-vdf-alb

What we do: we offer scholarships to 50 children in Costesti who risk school dropout due to their families’ social and financial situation. Scholarships complete the complex educational and social services we offer children on a daily basis at the Hercules Day Center

What we aim is to prevent school dropout among the community’s more vulnerable children, encourage a love of learning and children’s internal motivation to learn; educate parents as to the importance of learning

Who benefits of the project: 50 children aged 6 – 14 years old; their parents and families

Context

 

Child poverty is among the main causes of early school dropout – in Costesti as in any rural disadvantaged community in Romania. In a country where 52.2% of children live in poverty and 75% of the poorest children live in rural areas, any efficient intervention to encourage school attendance must go hand in hand with measures against poverty.

In Costesti and the surrounding villages the school droput rate clearly and sadly reflect the dire social and economic situation of most of the families living here. Chronic unemployment, lack of any economic opportunities in the region, emigration of parents, disorganised families, alcoholism, domestic violence, exploitation of children as workforce in the fields to the detriment of learning – all these factors favour school droput before the end of secondary school.

New generations thus inherit the poverty of their parents and granparents in a vicious cycle of poverty and lack of education which is extremely difficult to break. Children in these families – most of the children in our community – go to school hungry, poorly dressed, with their homework not done, without books or school supplies, demotivated by their families’ lack of support and involvement. Slowly but surely, these kids and teenagers come to appear psychologically older than they are, they consider school a waste of time, they have no aspirations in life. Because poverty deprives them of dreams, hopes, rights, the impulse to ask (themselves) questions or look for solutions to problems.

Aim and objectives

 

“Stay in School” aims to fight early school droput in the community of Costesti by reducing children’s poverty, by creating adequate learning conditions, as well as by building the children’s internal motivation to learn, so that children will choose education on the long term. We act upon the present living conditions, the education and character of children, in order to break the poverty cycle in the future.

Objectives: what we do for children and parents

 

1. Scholarships (max 200 lei/ month) for 50 children (6-14) at risk of school droput
2. Free access to social, educational and health services for 50 children: 2 meals/ day, monthly health evaluation, daily homework and educational support; access to modern educational resources (library, computer room) and study rooms; educational activities (computer, foreign languages, reading, debate, music, financial education, health education); art activities, free play and play based learning activities aimed to encourage self confidence, to stimulate curiority and a love of learning
3. Parents’ education and involvement: we offer parents psychological counselling and parenting support; we try to alleviate their burden of raising children in poverty; we involve parents’ in the Hercules’ Center activities so that they too become supporters of their own children’s learning activities; we encourage positive parenting practices.

Profile of the beneficiary children

 

School children aged 6-14, students, at risk of school droput, coming from soically and economically disadvantaged families (less than 300 lei/ month income pro member, no school scholarship); mono-parental / dismantled/ large families, afflicted by illness, emigrated parents of children left behind in the care of relatives; children who can’t keep up in school; children with great learning potential; children with behavioural problems; children lacking parents’ support for studying or a positive educational model in their families (unschooled parents, older siblings who already dropped out out of school).

Social investigations are conducted for every child included in the project. Children and their evolution are constantly monitored by our teachers and social worker who work closely with the school teachers and the children’s families respectively. Scholarships are offered on a monthly basis; key conditions are child’s attendance of school and of the Hercules’ Center activities.

Stay in School is a project conceived by the Hercules Assocation – Asociatia Hercules and financed by The Vodafone Foundation Romania. The project completes the services we offer at the Hercules Day Center, whose main partner is H. Stepic CEE Charity, Viena.