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Consulting center for Roma pupils and their parents created in Zakarpattya
The teacher-coordinator Ilona Tokar helps Roma children with homework, conducts after-school programs and creative classes Photo by CF "Heart with love".
The teacher-coordinator Ilona Tokar helps Roma children with homework, conducts after-school programs and creative classes

CF "Heart with love" is a place where Roma families can go for legal, psychological and pedagogical assistance. It was created in the Transcarpathian village of Poroshkovo*. The aim of the initiators is not only to encourage families to send their children to school, but also to help children adapt to it, not to miss lessons and get a quality secondary education.

The educational and consulting Centre in the village of Poroshkovo (Perechyn district) started working in the framework of the project "Education of Roma is a key to their success in society” supported in June 2016 by the Roma Program Initiative of International Renaissance Foundation.

Preventing children from becoming a "risk group"

Since its inception (2010), CF "Heart with love" focuses on aid to pupils and graduates of boarding schools, children-orphans, disabled children and children from needy families in Zakarpattya, as well as to "difficult" teenagers.

“The Fund provides legal and social protection, facilitates the adaptation period to adult life. They provide moral and material support to children during further education, employment, treatment and housing and registration”,  Denys Varodi, the director and psychologist of the project explained.

In Zakarpattya there are boarding schools for children-orphans and children deprived of parental care. Annually these institutions graduate about 45 students at the age of 15. The majority of these children do not have friends and family outside of school and it is very difficult for them to adapt to adult life. Some graduates continue their education in vocational school, but after completing it guys and girls do not have houses and registration and can't get a job. Often young people live in poverty and become people of "risk group" because of the connection with the criminal world, alcohol, drugs. The activists of CF try to prevent this and to bring together the youth through good deeds, raising self-esteem and providing all possible assistance.

Education of Roma is a separate direction

Human rights defenders allocate such a significant part of their work as education of Roma. There is a rather large Roma community in the village, and it has some problems: unemployment, low standard of living, lack of legal awareness and education. Before the start of the school year, the Foundation staff worked with Roma families with children of school age. They visited the families to find out the conditions in which children live and what the psychological situation between them and parents is. They made lists of children who would go to school this year.

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Photo by CF "Heart with love".

Many children from Roma families do not systematically attend school. Together with the teaching staff of educational institutions and employees of the Department of education, youth and sports the employees of the organization conducted a survey among the local Roma. And found out that poor attendance at lessons is caused by the following factors:

  • Heavy household of some families
  • Departure of parents with children on seasonal work to other regions
  • High level of unemployment among the Roma
  • Irresponsible attitude of parents to education of children.

Learning, creativity and recreation

To correct this situation, the Foundation created a school educational and consulting center, where children can communicate with the teacher, the psychologist, to develop their creativity and to relax.

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Photo by CF "Heart with love".

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Photo by CF "Heart with love".

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Psychologist Denys Varodi during lessons with first graders. Photo by CF "Heart with love".

More photos in the gallery to the article.

The village of Poroshkovo, Perechyn district, Zakarpattya is the birthplace of many famous Ukrainian personalities. Here were born, grew up and studied a composer and conductor Mykhailo Krechko, a diplomat Oleksandr Shevchenko, children's writer and social activist Mariyka Pidgirianka, a priest, writer and publisher Yevhen Fencik, a football coach and sports figure Mykhailo Mikhalina. At secondary school there is a memorial plaque to another famous native of the village, Augustine Stefan, a teacher, political leader, lawyer, President of the Carpatho-Ukraine Sojm.

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