‘Association of Women from Iskra'
We’ve been partners since 2009 when we accomplished a similar project to encourage community development through civic and motivational trainings for parents, pupils and teachers together.
Democracy can’t function without communication, as Sociology states. It is by interaction that people design institutions and civic systems. To participate in democracy, bilingual students need to learn the official language, taught at school. After COVID-19, schooling depends heavily on parental literacy and computer skills. Therefore, to support democracy in a small multi-ethnic, vulnerable community, parents have to be able to actively assist the computer-aided home education of their kids.
Iskra village, Municipality of Sitovo , North East Bulgaria.
The region relies on labour-intensive agriculture, incomes are low, majority of families live at the edge, the school system here suffers from limited access to academic resources. The local COVID-19 education response worsened the inequality in students’ learning, as some families have the resources to take part in distant learning unlike 35% of the school community here. We are challenged to ensure kids retain the same level of knowledge and skills and prevent educational failure and social disparities. Via ‘SOS-Parents’ Club’ we plan to mobilise resources in our primary school community, provide computers and assist the parents to acquire digital skills, linguistic & cognitive knowledge to be capable of taking part in the computer-aided distant learning together with their children.
For our community of Turkish, Bulgarian and Roma, civic cohesion is volatile and depends on the families’ motivation to make changes. Therefore, in 2009, with the partner ‘Paralel-Silistra’, we enhanced civil participation and focused on local chitalishte & school premises as civil centres. We trained parents, students and teachers in language & computer literacy, motivating them to change their children’s and community future. Similarly to this initiative, now we propose to assist the community to mobilise resources centred around the chitalishte and school premises, enable the parents to take part in children’s computer-aided distant learning. This activated access to education as a universal human right, will strengthen the community ability to participate in changes and will teach demo
Together with the local chitalishte & school authority we plan to set up the "SOS Parents' Club" and use their premises as civil centres. We directly target 40 parents, mainly women, of Turkish and Roma ethnicity, who come from vulnerable groups, whose kids don’t have access to mobile devices, computers or Internet, which deprives them from distant education in times of COVID-19. We plan 50 hours of linguistic&computer literacy and motivational training to improve their competences. To provide enough PCs for the ‘Club’ in the community centre, we will involve the local businesses and Sitovo authority in a Christmas donation campaign. We also target the rest of the school community by organising a weekly ‘Community Day’, offering education for all and easy-to-access learning activities.
Together with the local authority, we will equip the designated space in the chitalishte as the "SOS Parents' Club". Then we will publicly announce the project and inspire support for the Christmas donation campaign The next step will be set up the training groups of parents as their needs have already been surveyed and analysed. Together with our Partner’s network of local trainers as educational mediators and the local teachers we will schedule 4-moths of trainings on linguistic & computer literacy, cognitive knowledge on civic participation and motivation to be active. We plan for additional trainings online, depending on the COVID -19 situation. All the community will be invited to attend the weekly ‘Community Day’, offering attractive and easy-to-access learning activities.
In a year time, we will have established the ‘SOS-Parents’ Club’ as a non-formal entity, managed by our NGO and chitalishte collectively. The Club will house all the project resources: computers, teaching materials, props and furniture. During the Project closing public event we will plan how it is going to function during the 2021/22 school year in order to improve the inequality in students’ learning caused by the lack of resources. The students & teachers will report improved knowledge and skills. The direct target group of 40 families will have become able to take part in the computer-aided distant learning together with their children. They will have participated in this local change and will have practiced democracy. The community cohesion will have been strengthened.
We believe that “civic education” involves a life-long learning on how to take part in communal changes. Civic education doesn’t need to be intentional or deliberate as NGOs and institutions transmit values and norms without meaning to. A rightly famous example is Tocqueville’s often quoted observation that local engagement is a form of civic education: “Town meetings are to liberty what primary schools are to science; they bring it within the people’s reach, they teach men how to use and how to enjoy it.” When ‘SOS-Parents’ Club’ turns to be a model for community empowerment through activated access to education in vulnerable ethnic community, it might be a small step towards big democratic changes. The project will light the way to have a say for the future of our kids and community.
We are motivated by the negative impact of the school lockdown on our community. Members of our NGO, the school principle and some parents shared concerns about the inadequate distant education in the village of Iskra, especially for the vulnerable families without access to computers and internet. This increase of social disparities really challenged us to suggest the project idea and the educational initiaitves. In addition, we’ve already had a similar background in activating the locals through improved access to education. We see our mission in the possibility to ensure bilingual kids retain the same level of knowledge and skills & improve school attainment. The SOS-Parents’ Club’ will function as a civic space to enable the locals to co-shape our life and stay in the community.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Human resources/ project management and educational mediators – 18600 EUR.
Office expenses – 1800 EUR
Internet access for the SOS Parents’ Club co-space and subscription to educational platform for distant learning (ZOOM)– 1000 EUR
Travel and accommodation costs – 2400 EUR
Equipment for the SOS-Parents’ Club’ – 5000 EUR
Cultural activities –1500 EUR
Teaching materials – 2500 EUR
Web site development, posting articles and updates – 2000 EUR
Communication and publicity - 3500 EUR
Any comments that you think could help and improve the application.