Extreme poverty, like a tree, has many deep roots and one main one stands out: lack of education. We work with families that live well below the poverty line. Most of them lack basic education and do not send their children to school regularly, if at all. These children are therefore at a very high risk of remaining poor throughout their lives.
According to UNICEF, 300.000 – 400.000 children of compulsory school age in Romania do not attend school regularly and so will have very limited work opportunities. They are therefore at risk of following the same path as their parents and grandparents extending a hopeless cycle of poverty into another generation.
To break this cycle, we put a strong focus on education. There is no quick fix but by investing ourselves in children’s education we can make long-term changes that really transform their lives.
For children, education is much more than being able to read and write; they need to learn new things to develop their potential and thrive. Because education opens the door to their future, we have developed a holistic approach to enable all children that we work with to access and remain in education.
To monitor a child’s progress, we work hand in hand with teachers and schools. Open Hands staff work within schools, alongside teachers, to support each child in their individual learning journey.
Children come to our projects after school and kindergarten to receive a warm meal, do their homework, learn about life-skills and play with their friends.
As children receive a poor diet at home, they come to school feeling hungry. We therefore provide nutritious food at all our programs. Results show that children’s overall wellbeing improves and that they are highly motivated to attend.
From visiting children at home, we know of the poverty their families face. Parents do not have the means to provide their children with the right clothing and shoes for school. Going to school in old, broken shoes and clothes often leads to children be bullied there, and so they stop going. By providing appropriate clothes and shoes we built self-confidence and encourage school attendance.
Most parents we work with did not go to school themselves and have therefore a limited understanding of the importance of education. We work closely with parents to help them to develop their parenting capacity – all parents we work with now send their children to school.
As families are too poor to pay for school materials for their children such as school bags and note books. This enables children to learn at school and be accepted as part of the classroom environment.
Children who cannot pay for school trips have to stay behind. Being the ‘odd one out’ leads to a low self-confidence and discourages children from going to school. To prevent our supported children being left out, we cover the costs for school trips. Separately, trips are also organised as part of our Rainbow and Lighthouse Programs.
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
An important part of our work is breaking the cycle of poverty through education. For this we have put programs in place such as our Lighthouses and …Donate now