The non-profit organization Jugend Eine Welt – Don Bosco Aktion Austria is leading a project with the aim of facilitating the social integration of Roma and Sinti children in the settlement of Orechov Dvor near the Slovakian town of Nitra. cargo-partner has been the main sponsor of this project since 2012. Following the successful completion of the first phase, the project has now been extended until August 2019.
Roma and Sinti in Slovakia are largely confronted with social segregation, unemployment and a lack of perspectives. In addition to low levels of education, the social problems are further exacerbated by drug and alcohol addictions, violence in families and early pregnancies. The Roma and Sinti settlement of Orechov Dvor near Nitra is inhabited by 350 people, 133 of whom are children under 14 years of age. Almost all adults are without formal employment.
Where public institutions had failed, looked away or given up too early, the Don Bosco Sisters intervened. The Sisters’ involvement in Orechov Dvor began in 2012, when they became active in the public pre-school. In December 2014, they took the next step with the opening of a Mother Child Center in cooperation with the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and with the support of cargo-partner. In 2016, on the initiative of cargo-partner, the Sisters also became active in the public kindergarten.
Supported by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit as well as trained social workers, the Don Bosco Sisters lead a number of activities to support the sustainable integration of Roma and Sinti children. Following the Montessori Method, the Don Bosco Sisters foster the young childrens’ skills and education up to their entry into the school system. In addition, the Sisters offer targeted support for mothers. In the scope of play groups and other activities, the Sisters demonstrate the affectionate treatment of children and offer the mothers advice on questions about education, childcare, nutrition and health as well as housekeeping. With these measures, the Mother Child Center in Orechov Dvor fosters the development of mothers’ and childrens’ competences with the long-term goal of improving the social integration of young Roma and Sinti.
Project Experiences and Impact 2014-2018
According to the most recent report by Jugend Eine Welt, the relationships between mothers and Sisters have grown deeper and engendered a strong basis of mutual trust over the past four years of the project. Advice and recommendations, e.g. regarding the schooling of children, now have a more lasting impact. Children visibly benefit from the early education they receive from the Don Bosco Sisters: Thanks to the acquired skills, their entry into kindergartens and schools is significantly easier. Without these additional educational measures, their low levels of education and linguistic skills would be cause for stigmatization and discrimination. Family lives have been improved thanks to mothers’ regular visits to the Mother Child Center where they have learned healthier ways of interacting with one another.
With the support of cargo-partner, the Don Bosco Sisters will continue to run the Mother Child Center with the goal of integrating as many children, mothers and families into the program as possible. The Sisters will work to ensure high quality education according to the Montessori Method to promote the children’s talents and skills and support their healthy development with the goal of enabling a successful entry into school at the age of six years. Finally, the Sisters will continue to work with parents to strengthen parenting skills and family life. The project is now set to continue for the duration of the upcoming school year from September 2018 to August 2019.
Stefan Krauter, CEO of cargo-partner, is delighted about the success of the project: “Working with Jugend Eine Welt is an enriching experience. We are glad to be able to do our small part in offering children opportunities for a better future. The Don Bosco Sisters are doing excellent work in helping the families break open old structures and improve their lives together in the long term.”
cargo-partner has been supporting Jugend Eine Welt for more than 10 years in social projects throughout Europe, India and the Middle East. Most recently, cargo-partner sponsored the launch and creation of the non-profit organization’s new website: https://www.jugendeinewelt.at