The education of Roma children in poor areas is esential for the formation of adults who can integrate into society. In Romania, 2 out of 10 children of ethnic Roma do not attend school, and the dropout rate in grades 1-8 is 75%. The community of roma in Dumbrava, in Bihor County, was faced with just such a phenomenon. For this reason, in October, 2014, a day center was opened where children can receive educational support.
Adelina Pasca, coordinator, Day Center for Roma children in Dumbrava: More and more in Romania, as well as in this community, we observe that these children drop out of school very early, even as early as the 4th and 5th grade. That is why we wanted to be a source of encouragement for families, for children, to support them in regards to education, but also in regards to whatever they may need support in.
Presently, at the center, 40 preschool children come who attend kindergarten, and 20 school children come. Here there are rules for the purpose of forming character regarding hygiene, personal relations, attendance at the center, and at school.
Adelina Pasca: We try to do all of these activities in the form of games since the children arrive already bored from their school lessons. We try to give them all the necessary information in a fun way so that they enjoy their time with us in the afternoons, during school time.
Along side academic education, it is just as important for these children to learn how to behave in society.
Adelina Pasca: Education for children begins with what hygiene and good manners mean, but also support in what the education they receive at school means.
Dumbrava is a village in Bihor County where the Roma community is growing. In time, a number of needs have been identified.
Adelina Pasca: We cant say that much is happening in this community because it is not on a main road. Its more difficult for people from here to find work, so thats why there are not many Romanian families in the village, they dont have work.
Viorel Pasca, founder of the Dumbrava Project: I think the greatest needs in the Roma communities, first of all is the Gospel, without discussion, and 2nd is education. The lack of education, I believe, is worse than poverty.
The work with Roma children in Dumbrava began many years ago, has grown from one level to another, and now the results can be seen.
Adelina Pasca: More than 20 years ago this work in Dumbrava began. Viorel Pasca, my father-in-law, identified this need when he moved here. Even though it wasnt done with the highest of standards (the work was done in the street, on the main path) and they didnt have all these facilities that we enjoy today, still the fruits are visible. Families have changed, those who have wanted to learn more, will change.
Viorel Pasca: We dreamed then about doing a project in which these children could have their own house where they could find support, whether it be emotional or material, where they could find help when they have problems. I remember that I wrote, sometime in 1995 or 1996: I desire a home for these chldren! Well, that dream to have a home for these children only came true after 20 years.
Those involved in the Day Center in Dumbrava have proposed to stay faithful to the vision God gave them, the vision to see children who know God in an authentic way, becoming mature people in society.
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