Partner: Hercules Association
Location: Costești, Argeș County
Launch year: 2015 (April)
Project at a glance:
Hercules day care centre provides underprivileged children in Costeşti (Argeș) the chance to improve their school results and to integrate themselves into the community, to develop beautifully in intellectual, emotional and behavioural terms; to become independent adults, able to support themselves and leave the environment in which they were born
Why this project is needed
The town of Costeşti (Argeș County) is located 130 km west of Bucharest, near Pitești. Costeşti municipality is made up of many small villages, with a total population of about 10,000 inhabitants, whose main source of income is agriculture. The unemployment rate in Costești is higher than the county one and the only industrial enterprise employs 200 people.
The poverty most city residents live in has led to the occurrence of many social problems in families and in the community: alcoholism, domestic violence, child neglect, juvenile delinquency, school dropout, emigration abroad of the family breadwinners and the abandonment of children in the care of relatives.
For the youngest townspeople, there are no educational facilities outside of school, no playgrounds, libraries, cultural centres or theatres.
It is obvious that such a community does not have much to offer to the 1,200 children growing up in Costeşti.
How we help
Part of the shortcomings and needs of the most disadvantaged townspeople are met by the Hercules Day Care Centre, which has become a landmark for the residents of Costești, as the place that brings the community together and gives children a chance at childhood and better lives.
In addition to the educational, social and financial support offered to children, the Hercules centre promotes social solidarity and active participation in the community, the involvement of all community members in finding solutions to common or individual problems of its members.
Starting with 2011, the Vodafone Foundation has financed the operation of the Hercules Day Care Centre, thus ensuring access to education, social canteen, leisure and non-formal educational activities for the disadvantaged children in Costeşti. The 50 daily beneficiaries are joined by other 150 poor children from the community who constantly or occasionally take part in non-formal educational activities and events organized by the centre.
Through all its activities, Hercules Centre aims to prevent school dropout and low school attendance, to improve the school results of children, to support the social integration of families and children with problems, while improving their financial situation.
Hercules Centre is frequented daily by 50 children, grades I-VIII (7-14 years), divided into two age groups. Children receive breakfast and lunch at the centre and do their homework in the after-school program under the supervision of volunteer teachers who provide extra help for the school subjects children struggle with.
At least an hour a day is dedicated to leisure and non-formal educational activities, which may include: creative activities (crafts, painting, decorative objects), games in the playground of the centre, as well as computer courses or education for health courses.
Weekly, there is organized a ”literary club” which aims to encourage reading and creative writing, and the ”Debate Club” – where children learn to construct a logical argument and discourse to support their point of view.
During holidays, children from the Hercules Centre have the opportunity to get out of their environment and to experience new places and situations in camps and trips outside the city, during which they visit museums, touristic sights, go to the theatre and to exhibitions.
Throughout the year, the Hercules Centre organizes community events, with the voluntary participation of families and elderly people from Costesti.