Fundatia Noi Orizonturi Lupeni (New Horizons Fundation Lupeni), Romania
Vulnerable children across Romania are being left behind during COVID 19 crisis. They don’t have access to education, basic supplies, information related to prevention of COVID. And the longer children stay away from school, the less likely they are to ever return. The project proposes to support children aged 6-10 from 8 rural communities and small cities to remain in school, by creating a network of “Older brother/sister” supporting their younger colleagues, during Covid and after.
The project will take place in 8 villages and small urban areas in Romania
We will be working in communities with a large number of vulnerable children - from families with parents working abroad, unemployed, single parent family, minority ethnic groups. These children cannot cover their basic needs - meals, proper shelter; don’t have access to devices – smart phone, tablet, PC; are exposed to domestic abuse, and are at a high risk of school dropout. Their situation has worsened during the COVID crisis, and their chance to get back to school decreases day by day. Also, the discriminatory discourse we see in the public space, especially against Roma returned from EU countries, affects negatively these children, who have no desire to go back to school.
Groups of young people 12-18 with civic spirit, living in these 8 communities, will be challenged to design and implement community service learning projects that support their vulnerable colleagues to stay in school. After opening the dialogue with their colleagues and identify their needs, these young people will talk to teachers, school directors, community leaders, mayors, local businesses etc, to ask them to support their younger colleagues. These groups of adolescents, with the support of mentors from our organization, will be the leaders of community development processes, contributing to a better community, where people sit at the same table and find solutions for community problems.
We have two main target groups:
- 240 vulnerable children aged 6-10. They will be supported by their "older" colleagues to get access to education and stay in school, and participate in the co-creation and implementation of community service learning projects
- 8 initiatives/clubs formed by young people 12-18, who will develop their skills in the areas of project management, leadership, communication and innovation, design thinking, while working with their younger colleagues. They will also develop a strong sense of solidarity with these peers.
Other stakeholders will be involved too - teachers, schools’ principals, mayors, small businesses, creating a safety net to support children who are at risk of drop out.
1. Initial selection, from the communities we work with, of those with a large number of vulnerable children. 2. Organise a hackathon for 8 groups of young people, to teach them design thinking, and prototype solutions to keep vulnerable children in school
3. The youth groups create, with the support of school management and teachers, the list of vulnerable children aged 6-10, and get parents committed to participate in the project. The communication with the parents will be online or offline, depending on circumstances.
4. The groups review the ideas created in hackathon - co-creation process, and implement them in the communities, with the supported of mentors. 5. Document and promote the stories to the educational national institutions/coalitions
We want to change the way in which we address the access to education of the vulnerable children, by getting local actors more involved in the process, especially teenagers and youth. We want to empower them to support their younger colleagues, and we want them led the process, with a adults support. Because young people have the capacity to identify problems and develop solutions with a “fresh” view, adapted to the conditions they live in. We are building our idea with this belief in mind, and want to develop their skills to lead community development processes. We also want to create that safety net that is missing in many communities, safety net that will make vulnerable children feel they have the so-much-needed support to continue school.
The project is aligned with EU youth policy cooperation for 2019-2027 and will be implemented in our organization under the umbrella of SDG 4-Quality education and SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities. By implementing projects in their communities, young people learn how to be active citizens and became community leaders, and are also aware of the fact they are global citizens of this world. Also, the project contributes to the idea of equality and inclusiveness in Europe, aiming at offering equal chances to education to most vulnerable ones. We hope that stories of students creating and implementing projects for other students to become a best practice in Romania and across Europe.
There is a big gap between the big urban–small urban–rural areas. While some of the students have access to everything they need, others are in the opposite situation, with a huge drop-out risk. The gap has deepened during the COVID 19 crisis. Students at risk before the crisis became even more vulnerable, and will quit school. "We believe in power of education" is our mission, and we believe that all children, from all walks of life, should have access to quality education. In a digital era, in Romania we have tens of thousands of children without access to digital education. It is important to support them, and we are doing it in our way - supporting adolescents with initiative to support vulnerable colleagues. It is a win-win combination.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Staff - 15800
Transportation - 1200
Offline meetings with youth groups - 8000
Youth groups projects - 8000 (8 x 1000)
Digital platforms for communication and training - 4000
Public relations - 1200
Data gathering and evaluation - 3000
The amount to 55000 is our intention to fund raise to cover the basic needs of the vulnerable children - food, clothes, supplies for school, from our business partners.
Feedback on the concept/idea of the project; on the implementation steps - something to be changed/improved?; ideas for connecting our project with other similar or complementary initiatives.