In 2017, the Special Fund for Children supported over 1000 children and young people aged between 7 and 18, from 38 counties (64 villages, 14 cities).
- 328 children received scholarships for school and individual counselling
- 635 children in rural areas attended a social after-school center
- 671 children in rural areas received Christmas gifts
- 87 families received social aid packages
- 13 rural after-school centers were supported by the Foundation
- 252 volunteers involved/3058 volunteer hours
School dropout is one of the most serious problems of the Romanian educational system. According to Eurostat data, the early school dropout rate is 18.5%, which places Romania on the third place in the top European countries. The main cause of this phenomenon is poverty. In addition to early school leavers, there are children who never went to school in the first place. More than 28 years of experience in social projects dedicated to children have shown us that the only real way to break the vicious circle of poverty is access to education.
Support for children from disadvantaged backgrounds
The Special Fund for Children is a national programme for assistance and access to education dedicated to helping children who find themselves in situations of hardship. The Special Fund for Children promptly responds to the needs of families across the country, providing them with financial support to overcome a crisis context as a result of which children may drop out of school. The programme equally contributes to the development of education in small, isolated communities, through investments in after-school programmes and day-care centres.
The programme works for the prevention of early school dropout by two components:
1. Scholarships for school
We provide individual financial aid, during the school year, to children and young people who find themselves in serious social situations, in order to prevent early school-leaving and to cover their school attending costs. Children from all over the country, from rural or urban areas, are supported, up to the amount of 350 Euro per year. The funding is granted in a customised manner, so as to ensure long-term effects in the child’s life.
2. Grants for local after-school organisations
We award grants of 2 000-4 000 Euro for after-school projects in rural areas and towns under 35 000 inhabitants, covering the costs of meals and educational, sanitation and hygiene materials, an investment that has the effect of modernising education in the most disadvantaged areas of the country.
In 2017, the programme’s partner was Vodafone Romania Foundation, for 17 counties, through the Strategic Investment Programme for Rural Areas.
The programme is intended for children from all over the country, enrolled in a form of state pre-university education, who find themselves in difficult social contexts. They come from low-income families, are left under the care of their relatives, have sick parents or come from families with many children, have severely disabled people under their care or come from single-parent families.
Main activities for the children from disadvantaged backgrounds
Social intervention and monitoring depending on the needs identified, specific for each of the beneficiaries. The scholarships provided children with school supplies, compulsory and auxiliary educational materials, clothing and footwear, hygiene and sanitary products, payment for boarding, meals or transport to school for children who learn in other cities, eye glasses, hearing aids, integration in after-school programmes.
A healthy meal every day was one of the programme’s concerns, with the funding covering the costs of a sufficient and healthy diet, whether within the family, in the school canteen or in a social after-school center.
Social counselling and technical assistance provided to families in dificulty, in order to improve the situation and to find solutions to their problems, but also to local NGOs in order to stabilise them and ensure post-funding project sustainability.
Motivational camp aimed to reward 50 children with a very good school evolution and was organised during the summer holidays, at Râul Sadului.
Course for the development of communication skills and non-formal methods of education for 24 specialists in education and the staff from within 8 social centres funded through the Strategic Investment Programme for Rural Areas.