Partner: Hercules Association
Beneficiaries: 50 school children aged between 6 and 14 years, who are at risk of dropout and come for disadvantage families, children with important school knowledge gaps, children with a high learning potential, children with inadequate social behavior, children lacking parental support and an educational role model in their family.
Location: Costesti, Arges
Year of Launch: 2016 (December)
Budget: 81.000 lei
Chronic unemployment in the area, coupled with lack of economic opportunities in the region, migration of parents abroad, family disintegration, alcoholism, domestic violence, minors forced to do the house chores instead of attending school, and inadequate housing conditions, favor dropout before completion of secondary school and pass on the inherited poverty from generation to generation, in an inextricable vicious circle. Children coming from such families – who account for most part of the children in the community – go to school hungry, poorly dressed, homework undone, without notebooks and school supplies and feeling demoralized by the lack of care and involvement of their families. At school, they feel rejected and powerless and, as such, they lose their self-esteem, often developing behavioral disorders. Slowly but surely, these children grow into prematurely aging teenagers, who see no point in getting education and have no hopes or expectations whatsoever. Poverty kills their dreams, hopes, rights and their desire to ask questions and seek for solutions.
With the “Stay in School” project, the Hercules day center aims to tackle early dropout by reducing child poverty. Appropriate learning conditions have been created and children are encouraged to learn and are motivated to engage in life-long learning. The day center team looks after the children’s living conditions, education and behaviour, in an attempt to prevent the vicious circle of poverty from propagating.
By all of its actions the Hercules Center prevents dropout and school absenteeism, improving children’s school performance, supporting the social integration of families and children in difficulty, while also meliorating their financial situation. Improving children’s living and learning conditions and involving and educating their parents are expected to generate a shift in the way they perceive education.
The Center provides:
– Monthly social scholarships for those 50 beneficiaries of the center, children at risk of dropout. Children are taught how to manage their scholarship by themselves.
– Free access of the children to social, educational and healthcare services: 2 meals / day; monthly health condition assessment; daily assistance with homework and tutoring classes; access to study spaces and modern educational resources (computer room, library); educational activities (IT, English, debate, reading, music, financial and health education courses); creative workshops and learning-through-play classes, meant to develop skills, enhance self-confidence, stimulate curiosity and the desire to learn in children.
– Information, education and parental involvement for both the parents covered by the social scholarship project and for other parents in the community, with school and preschool children, in the form of monthly parental education sessions; preparation of educational materials for other parents in the community, to raise awareness of and prevent dropout in the future (e.g. of topics covered: nurturing children’s self-confidence, parent-child connection, effects of physical and verbal abuse on children, emotional health, importance of preschool education etc).