“ACCESS TO EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES” IN BANYA
The main purpose of the project “Access to educational resources” in the village of Banya is to promote and enable the full development of each child’s intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, moral and physical development in accordance with their age, needs, individual abilities and interests. This is achieved through planning and conducting a variety of daily activities that create favorable conditions for social integration. We offer access to quality educational resources and opportunities for the formation of a strong value system in Roma children and adolescents. The knowledge, skills and competencies developed throughout the implementation of the project activities are a guarantee for the effective personal development of our beneficiaries and plant the seeds for their future social realization in the current dynamically changing society.
The main priorities of our work in Banya include:
In 2019, we supported 52 pre-school and school-aged children between the age of 4 and 16.
We continued working with young children from minority groups who are unable to speak Bulgarian, which requires a great deal of dedication and patience. However, after 5 months of intensive work, they reach a number of important milestones – ability to count up to 10, to distinguish body parts and use vocabulary related to family members correctly.
Some of them attend the activities that are part of the “Access to educational resources” project for the second consecutive year and continue building up on the material that they studied previously. Our goal is to motivate such children to attend pre-school groups and this is why the skills and knowledge that they develop throughout the months we work with them are extremely important and serve as a prerequisite for success upon their inclusion in formal education.
One of the main challenges of the Bulgarian educational system is the early dropout of a big number of students. There are still families who do not consider their children’s education a priority. A number of them, especially parents of girls, think that only boys should continue with secondary education. Many parents instead prefer to arrange early marriages of female children, often without taking into consideration their feelings or dreams for the future. Hence, early child marriages and the lack of motivation to continue formal education, both on the part of parents and children, is one of the main challenges that we continue to fight.
We are immensely grateful for the support of Caritas Graz as well as the Herbert Stepic Foundation which provides us with the finances that enable us to distribute warm and healthy food for children on a daily basis. We also continue to receive much needed support from the Admont Association (Austria), led by Mrs. Zoechmann, who has been a longtime principal of a school that is partners with the one in the village of Banya.
In addition, our team in Banya remains grateful to everyone who continues to support the project, not just financially but also through volunteering. We are humbled by the number of people who believe that our efforts are not in vain and that sooner or later the results of our work will be reflected in the personal success of every child involved in the “Access to educational resources" project.
Maria Dimitrova [coordinator]
+359 88 823 2046