This is a three-year program supported by America for Bulgaria Foundation. It addresses the high drop-out rate of Roma children in school age. The project activities will further address infrequent attendance of school, low school grades of Roma students, low representation of Roma students in high schools and the low representation of Roma parents in school structures and school life in general. The project is based on the experience Center Amalipe has accumulated during the last seven years and explicitly the experience accumulated with the development of the “Folklore of ethnoi - Roma folklore” SIP program which includes schools from the territory of all Bulgarian regions.
Therefore, the project sets several major objectives:
to deepen and widen the intercultural (SIP) program that we have developed over the past several years and measure how it can help decrease drop-out rates among Roma children across the country.
to take the informal network of professionals established by Center Amalipe since 2002 and enhance it—by providing further training opportunities and utilizing our best teachers currently teaching the SIP program to conduct peer training. Peer training will allow us to disseminate best practices that we have learned over the past 7 years, thereby allowing us to have an impact on more than 200 new schools that have drop-out problems
to provide teachers working with Roma children with methodological support and tools for creating a classroom that is sensitive to the needs of Roma children and for engaging Roma parents with the education of their kids.
to empower Roma parents and make them participants in the school life
to provoke a systemic change and improvement of the education of Roma children. That is why the model for reducing the drop-out rate will be extended to more than 200 new schools which have drop-out problems. Awareness campaign and advocacy campaign will be organized to ensure its institutionalization and sustainability.
One of the major approaches will be “teachers teaching teachers”. Therefore, a group of mentoring schools will be appointed during the first year of project implementation. These are schools Center Amalipe has been working with within the Roma SIP program and which have shown good results in reducing the drop-out rate among Roma children. They will support new/ pilot schools in developing and implementing programs for reducing the drop-out rate. The pilot schools will receive also methodological support from specially established Pedagogical team to reduce the number of dropouts and to raise the quality of education.
At the same time the project envisages certain measures for raising public awareness and understanding about educational problems of Roma children and building supportive public and media environment. In order to be stimulated to work better and further allocate resources from their own budget a number of schools will be supported to develop activities for reducing the drop-out rate through several small grants. A number of extra-curriculum and out-of-school activities will be further organized for stimulating children interest to school, the biggest one of them being the annual Roma Children Festival “Open Heart” which is held in Veliko Turnovo. New pedagogical materials in the field of intercultural education will be published and disseminated.
The project will be implemented from January 2010 until June 2013
The America for Bulgaria Foundation (ABF) assists in the development and growth of a vibrant private sector for the benefit of a free and democratic Bulgaria. Founded in 2008, the ABF is a successor to the Bulgarian American Enterprise Fund, an investment fund created by the U.S. government acting through the U.S. Agency for International Development. The grants provided by ABF will build on the legacy of goodwill and friendship that exists between the American people and the citizens of Bulgaria.