Back to School
Today in Romania, there is a large cohort of displaced, second-generation farmers whose families were uprooted and relocated by the former Communist regime. Still suffering the effects of being cut off from their agricultural livelihood, this population is largely illiterate, unskilled and living in extreme poverty. Consequently, many children from these communities are prone to dropping out of school (2 x rate of any other area in the EU) and are at risk for child trafficking and labor exploitation.
Partnering with the School for Inclusive Education in Recas, Back to School is a program that helps provide for the basic needs of over 200 children for food, school supplies, clothing and personal hygiene products. This assistance has decreased child abandonment and helped decrease school drop out rate in the villages surrounding Recas, both helping to break the cycle of poverty of illiteracy that many of these children were born into.
We are also excited for the development of a newer venture “Moms’ School” that serves the mothers of many of the village children involved with Back to School. Moms’ School works in tandem with the Back to School ministry. Moms’ School provides lessons in social and parenting skills for mothers of at-risk children. These include practical topics such as baby care, how to encourage their children’s growth and development, the value of education for their children, as well as more challenging subjects like dealing with anger and marital discord. We find that providing this layer of needed support for the mothers can play a key part in helping them protect their children from the dangers of child labor exploitation, illiteracy, and trafficking.
“After a few years of Back to School we realized the program would be even more effective if we could teach the mothers on the importance of education to prevent illiteracy, and child labor exploitation and trafficking. These women are often abused, treated as lower class in their culture, and many married off at the ages of 12 – 14. The Rroma (gypsy) mothers love their children just as much as mothers in any culture. The culture and dysfunctional families they grew up in did not teach basic social and parenting skills. Once we began teaching these skills, we were amazed at how these mothers responded. After only a few weeks the mothers asked us to double the meeting days!”
Executive Director of MLI