Policy Center for Roma and Minorities Foundation

Today we start to present models of good practice in Romania, in terms of Roma education. Alternative Education Club (AEC) – implemented by Policy Center for Roma and Minorities Foundation. (Romania)The main purpose of Alternative Education Club is to empower children to break the cycle of marginalization, poverty and hopelessness in which they find themselves through sports and alternative education.

Main Services provided:

Six days a week, even during the summer holiday, the children have access to a multitude of activities:

• Remedial education : the goal of this activity is to support the children to reach the educational level suitable for their age.

• Non-formal education (sports, artistic and cultural activities)

• Artistic and cultural activities : drama, music, painting, financial education, health education, photography, quilling, storytelling, educational games.

• Mentoring: this activity aims to consolidate the relationship between the children and the staff of the AEC by counseling them in order to define the personal development objectives.

• Community organizing: each week there are meetings with the mothers who participate in the AEC activities in order to identify issues within the community and to find the most suitable solutions to engage and involve the members in the process of change.

The club is set in one of the neighborhoods well known for drug usage and trafficking, prostitution, HIV/AIDS and domestic violence. Extreme poverty, illiteracy, detention and its consequences are characteristics that the kids we work with, their parents and society in general, have come to consider normal for this community. Children from this area rarely graduate high school or university.

No one – not even their parents – considers they are able to succeed in the academic field.

The program is highly successful as it is fully immersed in the neighbourhood, it engages children in various ways (remedial to fun activities to personal development) and it creates a partnership with the parents. This program can be implemented at the local level. It involves strong relationship with the community as well as with institutional partners (schools, authorities in the area). It needs a strong volunteering group as well as donors willing to commit themselves on a long term with the risk that results will come after a (long while).

More info about Alternative Education Club (AEC) and Policy Center for Roma and Minorities Foundation you can find here.