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Education of vulnerable children, a shared responsibility

2014-03-12

February 18, 2013, Tufina, Albania: Vulnerable children and their families living at the Emergency Transition Centre are being assisted with reintegrating children in school. A supportive, creative and educative environment is being facilitated for these children, as a result of constant collaboration between the State Social Services and Terre des hommes in the framework of an agreement to establish psychosocial support services for the children and families at the Centre and in collaboration with the NGOs ARSIS and Rromani Baxt.
After being evicted from their settlements and having lived in a camp on a main Tirana street for weeks, 54 Roma families (250 people) where sheltered at the Emergency Transition Centre established by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth and the State Social Services last September. In addition to the provision of emergency assistance services, the Centre is running programs to facilitate the reintegration of families and individuals into society and their transition to self-sufficiency. An important component of such reintegration was the incorporation of children to the nearest schools and Terre de hommes actively helped in the process. Our psychosocial staff met with directors, teachers and school psychologist of the public schools ‘Pal Engjelli’ and ‘26 Nentori’ (where most school-aged children attended before the eviction), informed them about the situation and special needs of these children, and assisted the families with enrollment documentation and transfer procedures.
During an awareness-raising activity at ‘Pal Engjelli’ public school frequented by 35 Roma children from the Centre, children’s parents were invited to meet with teachers and school staff. Parents were informed on their children’s progress at school, on the importance of regular school attendance and on their responsibilities in their children’s education. The activity aimed to reinforce the relation between children, their parents, teachers and Centre staff. It also emphasized that education is every child’s right, that it is a shared responsibility, and that parents play a decisive role in protecting this right. Parents participated in an open discussion, sharing experiences and opinions on the importance of education. Children also participated actively, receiving encouragement words from their teachers on their talents and strengths and expressing their willingness to study hard and to attend school regularly. At the end of the activity, a school kit with all the necessary pedagogical materials was provided to each child.
Similar activities organized by Terre des hommes in the framework of the collaboration agreement with the State Social Services will continue to promote child development and their psychosocial wellbeing.