Hai la grădiniță! grants from NN Romania
helping create places in grădiniță for over 200 poor rural children
In 2016, as part of OvidiuRo’s effort to facilitate the implementation of the FCG Law, the OvidiuRo team met with local authorities in 99 of the most disadvantaged communities in 15 counties. By far the most common reason cited by the authorities for not registering all of their 3-5 year old children was “lack of space”.
It is common practice, when a kindergarten reaches its official capacity, to simply close registration. There is no ‘waiting list’, no procedure for informing the county authorities that there are more children ready for grădiniță than the gradinita is authorized to serve. So unless parents stridently complain, as they do in prosperous areas, only a fraction of a community’s children have access to kindergarten. And this can go on – year after year.
Creating another gradinita group to accommodate all the children is time-consuming, but it usually does not involve actually building another classroom!
There are a variety of solutions – like revamping a storage area into a classroom, getting a donor to cover the cost of an additional teacher for half a year, making afternoon classes, etc. But all the solutions require the principal and mayor to be proactive and willing to forge through a bureaucratic maze of required approvals.
That’s where OvidiuRo and the corporate sector come in! A 2017 €40,000 grant from NN Romania enabled OvR to help school principals in poor communities create additional kindergarten groups.
In September 2017, the Hai la grădiniță! grants were offered to 12 communities – Săsciori (Alba), Hilișeu-Horia (Botoșani), Boroșneu-Mare (Covasna),Costeștii din Vale (Dâmbovița), Iedera (Dâmbovița), Valea Stanciului (Dolj), Amărăștii de Jos (Dolj), Ion Roată (Ialomița), Mironeasa (Iași), Gârceni (Vaslui), Colonia Nuci (Vâlcea), Chiojdeni (Vrancea). The application process was simple: A community had to have at least 15 disadvantaged children who were not already registered for kindergarten and the school director had to obtain approval from the county school inspectorate to form a new group.
OvidiuRo offered the school directors advice and support in the form of a €2500 allotment. The money could be used in a variety of ways, without tedious red tape. Some school directors used the funds to furnish a new classroom with durable, child-friendly furniture; some repaired roofs and chimneys or installed heating. Others have used the funds to provide winter shoes and clothes for the newly enrolled children. One community built its first and only playground.
Both the increasing number of children in poor rural communities and their parents’ growing awareness of the importance of kindergarten have strained local capacity in many areas of Romania. OvidiuRo looks forward to helping more communities address this problem in 2018 – so every child in Romania can truly have access to kindergarten.
2017 Hai la grădiniță! Grants Map