Incredible for the century, but this is reality…
We started the second day of the journey with a three-hour drive to Constanta, the fifth most populous city in Romania, where we will be visiting a kindergarten with children enrolled in school since the beginning of the IKEA Foundation’s funding in Romania. We will also visit the Mangalia community.
We got a heartwarming welcome by the school management team, teachers and children, singing of songs, one after another. It was a blessing to witness the performance, the eagerness in them to keep up with the songs’ momentum with simple movements and the lively smiles which I rarely see nowadays. A small surprise was also prepared to welcome us, flowers handmade by the children and given to us personally. It was such an emotional gesture as deep in the children’s heart they know how the IKEA Foundation and Salvaţi Copiii have helped them to take the first step into education.
The title of this blog was a statement from the kindergarten’s director. She shared with us the difficulties faced by the school and the parents, from community discrimination to personal reasons. With successful cases, children have integrated well and developed in ways that made them ready for school, and more Roma parents acknowledged the importance of education for their children. I never knew how lucky I was to receive education without worries.
Next stop, the Mangalia community. From the moment we drove into the small lanes that led us to the village, we received continuous hand waves from the villagers, especially the Roma children. Upon alighting, we were soon surrounded by the children. With a short introduction by the project manager, we got to know how this project has helped the villagers in different ways: access to education for their children, allowing them to have basic necessities (clothing and food), etc.
We had a quick tour around the village where we visited a few houses. I remember clearly that there was this particular cement house that was illegally built on an “animal shelter”, and police repeatedly informed them that they need to vacate. Despite the bad living condition, uncertainties and community discrimination, the mother is determined to send her children to school because she knows that is the best for them. I gave her a pat on the shoulder to let her know she has done a wonderful job as a mother and through her return action I knew she got what I meant.
Everything is POSSIBLE with positive mentality and determination…