Support for Health, social Infrastructure and Education (SHINE) in Romania

Through our SHINE project in Bacau County in Romania, one of the poorest regions in Europe, we improve the lives of disadvantaged children by investing in education, health, and social services and infrastructure.

In each of the 37 communities, that will benefit from improved education, health, and social services and infrastructure, we organise a series of meetings with key actors as well as with children, parents and teachers. During these meetings we identify and discuss the communities’ needs.

“The feedback we receive most often from children and their parents is that it is the first time someone asks them what they think they need in their school or community. Children often show maturity, know what they would want, and if we listen to them more closely, we can help them shine,” says Mara Matei, our SHINE project manager.

 

Children’s wishes

To ensure that our work is impactful, we started the project by encouraging children to help us find the most important things they need in their communities. They told us they wish for good-hearted people around them, games, toys, colourful schools, roads, water in their houses, toilets in the schools, better school buses, a place where they can eat lunch at school, but also swimming pools and cinemas. We gather their proposals and, by the end of the project in 2019, we aim to make some of them come true.

 

A friendly school for children

Based on indicators such as priority or urgency of the common need, number of people who will benefit from the project, and expected results and impact, the community representatives choose the most conclusive ones.  

 

During the first stage of SHINE, 37 needs were selected to become projects. The years of 2018 and 2019 are dedicated to making the investments and fulfilling these needs which involve setting-up a kindergarte, building playgrounds, sports fields, proper bathrooms and heating systems in schools, renovating the schools and providing them with adequate furniture, supplies and blackboards, computers, as well as buses. This process also includes activities with children, parents and teachers: by using non-formal education methods we show them how to maintain the new things and ensure their sustainability by helping them understand that by common effort the property will serve them longer. More than 11,000 children will benefit from the investments made within SHINE.

 

“I believe that we need to learn how to help communities develop themselves and to improve public policies so that all children in Romania have access to friendly schools and high quality education services,” concludes Mara.

 

The project is funded courtesy of the Botnar Foundation from Switzerland.

 

Photo credit : ©Tdh/Olivier Batiste

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