In the deeply rural district of Suceava in northern Romania life is tough, whole communities struggle to find regular work, the children barely get to eat or wash and going to school isn’t a priority. Families living in one or two roomed houses with little heating or lighting, live a hand to mouth existence on a day by day basis.
Many of the children living in these villages have parents who did not receive any education. Poverty has been the focus of their lives. The only work they can do is seasonal manual labour, which often takes both parents away from the family home for months on end, leaving the children home alone or with grandparents.
Coupled with the stresses of living in extreme poverty in a very small space, this can lead to family breakdown, alcohol abuse and domestic violence. As a result, school dropout rates are very high.
If children don’t own essentials such as a coat, shoes, warm clothes and books, they’re unable to attend school. As a result, many will go without an education, and so the poverty cycle continues.
FARA promotes education as a way out of poverty. Employment opportunities are greatly restricted in Romania if a child does not complete every level of education, so FARA fights the cycle of poverty by supporting children to start school and stay in school. We provide a free programme across six rural primary schools and kindergartens in Northern Romania. To support 260 children and their families FARA employs teachers, catering staff and social workers. FARA strives to transform the attitude towards school, to develop a strong relationship with the families and in doing so, create brighter futures for the children..
Children attending school in Romania don’t usually receive school dinners. FARA understands the difference a nourishing hot meal can make to an impoverished child. We provide a daily hot meal to those children who usually go without. By doing so, parents are more likely to send their children to school as they know they will have five days a week when they will go to bed not feeling hungry.
FARA has a close relationship with the families and understands their individual situations and needs. Working with local social workers FARA supports families, helping with medical care, supplying warm clothing and sometimes even with building repairs for the family home; anything that will keep the family together and prevent school dropout.
FARA support includes:
710,000 Romanians expected to drop out of school before 9th grade over the next two decades – unless the pattern is broken by a comprehensive national action.’
Mihai lives in a tiny village in the northern Suceava district of Romania. He lives in his grandmother’s simple two room house, with his parents and two siblings in one room and his maternal grandmother in the other. Mihai’s family have very little money, they struggle to afford basic food. His father works seasonally on the land and travels abroad to find work and send money home. Mihai is very lucky as both his parents are supportive and there is a lot of love in their home.
Mihai is supported by the FARA Tackling Poverty Through Education programme by being given a hot meal each day at school and help with homework in after-school clubs. We also support his family with access to social and medical care and food parcels at holiday times.
Mihai is a serious boy who works hard at school and at home, he quietly gets on with the chores he is given before going outside to tinker with his old bicycle which is his most treasured possession and gives him a way of travelling to see friends in neighbouring villages.
Mihai has an older brother who is at high school and he is keen to follow in his footsteps. With the kind donations of our supporter FARA can build the community care and support through the schools and really make a change to the lives of children like Mihai.
Mihai’s story is true, however his name has been changed to protect his privacy.