The long-term goal of the project is to improve the life chances of disadvantaged (Roma) children through the development of early age interventions, development of services, institutions and systems, especially through expanding the capacities and competencies of social, educational and civic professionals in the Slovak-Hungarian border area.
Expected outputs and results:
We expect the project to (1) improve the education, development and care of the abilities of disadvantaged, Roma children at an early age; (2) the quality of work of experts working in this field will increase, their competencies and knowledge will be expanded – directly in the target municipalities, or indirectly in the whole border area, this will improve the educational and social situation of disadvantaged children, their life chances, future position on the labor market, and strengthen their social mobility. (3) in the long term, we will contribute to the elimination of discrimination and negative stereotypes about the Roma, as well as to the interruption of the generational transmission of extreme poverty and multidimensional social exclusion.
Specific outputs made through project activities:
- a professional study will be prepared in English, Slovak and Hungarian on the availability and quality of early age interventions in the border area, on the situation and needs of the given target group,
- two training courses for early childhood care professionals will take place, – a cross-border round table discussion will be held to draw attention to early care and to promote cross-border cooperation between relevant professionals,
- an on-line professional portal with rich professional knowledge in Hungarian and Slovak will be created, which will assist the cooperation of the participants and experts concerned as a knowledge collection and communication platform,
- a collection of examples of good practice on early age interventions for disadvantaged children will be developed and disseminated in professional circles.
Innovative nature of the project:
The innovative nature of the project lies mainly in the chosen topic and approach to solving the problem, because early age interventions and especially cross-border adaptation of successful practice and methods is an unknown initiative in this region so far.
The educational, social and other situation of disadvantaged Roma communities in both countries, in the border area – and especially very young children (from 0 to 5 years) is very similar and educational and social institutions and services in two countries have similar features, therefore good practice in one country will most likely be applicable in another. Nevertheless, there have been few initiatives that have been established in these circumstances or implemented in this spirit.
Quality education of disadvantaged Roma children, their education at an early age is essential in the development of peripheral, border areas, because it significantly contributes to the development of the whole region and to increasing social and economic integration.
In order to solve the situation of disadvantaged, socially excluded Roma communities, a unified approach and strategy is required between Roma and non-Roma participants, regardless of borders. Our experience shows that there is neither a united voice nor a dialogue in this area. Although solving the situation also requires significant material costs in the region, it is also very useful to build consensus between actors, organizations and legislators on both sides of the border to encourage joint action. This project wants to support this effort.
Compared to Slovakia, Hungary is making more progress in the application of early age interventions, because while in Slovakia pre-school attendance will be compulsory from the age of 5 from 2021, in Hungary every child from the age of three must attend kindergarten from 2015 onwards. However, there are more institutions in this field in Slovakia, which are financed from private sources. Unfortunately, the number of places in kindergartens is not sufficient, or more precisely in rural areas, kindergartens are not available directly in the villages, children have to travel and therefore they miss a lot, especially children in disadvantaged situations. The level of rural institutions, which in many cases are segregated, needs to be improved, as does early intervention.
In both countries, in Hungary as well as in Slovakia, a number of successful initiatives, pedagogical programs, innovative developments and projects have taken place in recent years (e.g. in Veľká Ida, Košice, the Feuerstein model is used in several places, or Children’s Homes Sure Start – Biztos Kezdet in Hungary.) All of these are at least partially adaptable on the other side of the border, so we think that in order to ensure the appropriate early development of disadvantaged (Roma) children, cross-border professional cooperation, transfer of experience and knowledge is desirable. Experts, civil society participants, public providers can only benefit from learning the methods they will be able to apply successfully in their work. We will make the results of the project available primarily to them, but ultimately to everyone on the created online platform, or by the dissemination of studies and collections of good practice.
Name of the project: “The Chance for Children from Disadvantaged Backgrounds” (abbreviation “The Chance”)
Location of the project: the border region of northern Hungary and the Košice self-governing region
Project implementation date: 1.2.2020 to 31.1.2021
Project partners: Kárpátok Alapítvány – Magyarország, Lead Partner; Carpathian Foundation – partner
Budget: EUR 58,814.95, of which ERDF contribution: EUR 49,992.70.
(“The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union.”)