12.04.2017REGIONAL MEETING FOR SHARING GOOD PRACTICE IN THE FIELD OF CHILDREN'S POLICIES
With the support of Center "Amalipe" in the days 7 and 8 of April in the town of Veliko Tarnovo was held a regional meeting to exchange good practices in the field of children's policies for Central North Bulgaria. The event was organized within the project "Voice of Bulgarian children" which is performed by the Bulgarian School of Politics "Dimitar Panitza" in partnership with the National Network for Children and funded by the "OAK" Foundation. Center "Amalipe", as an organization - regional coordinator for Central North region to the National Network for Children, supported the logistics for the organization of the event and presented its experience in working with parents and children from vulnerable communities.
The meeting was the second of its kind in Bulgaria. Within the project is expected to be held a total of six regional meetings. The regional meeting aimed to bring together people from different professions, working in different places, and at different positions, but united by one cause - solving the problems of children.
The event was attended by over 40 representatives of regional administrations, local authorities and civil sector from the fields of Veliko Tarnovo, Ruse, Gabrovo, Pleven, Razgrad, Lovech and Silistra, as well as by graduates of Bulgarian School of Politics, currently working for the protection of children's rights in the region.
During the forum was presented a regional analysis of the state of children's policies for the problems that exist at regional level, as well as good practices. The regional analysis covering the regions of North Central Planning Region, namely: Veliko Tarnovo, Ruse, Gabrovo, Razgrad and Silistra.
The survey found that among the main problems of the region are:
• Central North region lacks of medics, there is no enough capacity of the hospitals and lack of modern medical equipment;
• Education is another area of outstanding quite a few problems. For the academic year 2016-2017, 308 children from North Central region have dropped out of school , most of them from the region of Ruse - 133. The students remain outside the classroom because of social and family reasons, misunderstanding of teaching or lack of skills to cope the missed study material. Among the reasons are still low incomes and lack of funds to provide the necessary conditions for education of parents, students need to work to support the family budget, and the need to care for younger siblings. In smallsettlements, where the schools are closed, often mothers and fathers are worried about the safety of their children, especially if they are girls, and prefer to leave them at home instead of traveling to the near town. There are aslo problems in education and care for children with disabilities and special needs.
• About 44% of children in the North Central Bulgaria live in poverty, which is 0.5% higher than the national average. Experience has shown that the longer children live in extreme poverty, the more serious are the consequences for them. It is more likely for them to encounter difficulties such as social isolation, problems with education and health issues. As another major challenge seems to be the lack of a real adult to take care of the child grows to maturity. Due to the migration of parents, their high employment or their inability to communicate with their children, many kids are raised by grandparents or grow themselves, which hinders their educational success and development.
Having the analysis data, the participating in the regional meeting outlined measures to tackle the problems of children from districts of Gabrovo, Veliko Tarnovo, Razgrad, Ruse and Silistra. Among them were the proposed establishment of mobile schools, the return of former youth homes in a modern form, the development of mobile advisory teams, entrepreneurship training for families in a difficult financial situation and farms instead of aid to such families. As measures to address the problems of children were noted some possible legislative changes such as eliminating bad practice in education, where at the moment a child is equal to a definite sum of money.
At the meeting were presented also best practices for the benefit of children and families in the region. Center "Amalipe" presented its experience in working with schools in the implementation of practices: Parental Club and Student Parliament. Good practices were presented by secondary school "Vela Blagoeva" Veliko Tarnovo - School ombudsman; Association "Ekvalibrium" Ruse - Center for Street Children and Secondary school "Bacho Kiro" Pavlikeni - School Parliament.