We started our trip early in the morning to the city of Targoviste, which is 80 km from Bucharest, to visit the “Scoala MIHAI VITEAZUL” school. Save the Children has a summer school project for vulnerable children here, funded through the IKEA Foundation. The school is open for children from 15 June until 15 Sept .
The school is named after a Romanian king called Mihai the Brave who united the country from four different parts to one.
First we visited a kindergarten with approximately 20 children from age 3-6. It is like any other school, but the difference is that they learn a lot about social behaviour and get a free warm meal each day. We felt very welcomed because the children sang to us and were very open.
We met some parents and teachers as well as project and community leaders. We met a mother at the age of 23 who is expecting her 6th child. She told us that her biggest son was the “bad boy” in the school but since he participated in this project he has better school results and behaves differently at home as well.
Later we met children who are taken care of by grandparents and neighbours because the parents are working abroad. We saw a very special dance performed by them.
These children get more financial than emotional support from their parents. One part of this project is also to explain to the parents that emotional support is more important. Even for us, it is a very awakening advertisement that “shared moments are more important than a lot of toys”.
In the afternoon we visited two Roma communities in the village of Sotanga. The village just applied for the programme and they have already built an after-school care centre where kids are transported to and get a warm meal as well. However, their financial resources are not sufficient. Their biggest problem is convincing the parents to let the children go to school – for this they employed a social mediator.
The other issue is transporting the children from the Roma communities outside the village to the school.
It was a very interesting and emotional day. The experienece is very close to my heart and wish to do more for these people.