|Gracanica Education Center|
|Tuesday, 16 December 2008|
Balkan Sunflowers has been active in Gracanica since 2001, when our summer camp project provided something for children to do during the long hot summer. A series of subsequent programs has focused on education, particularly with Roma children. With our partner On the Good Way, a local NGO, we have participated in education surveys, educational awareness campaigns, and alternative education projects.
With positive experience, the children's enthusiasm, the support of parents, and funding from the Laura Jane Musser Fund and the OSCE, On the Good Way and Balkan Sunflowers started the Gracanica Education Center in April 2004. Since then, with additional support from Norwegian Church Aid, we have run a continuous program serving on average more than 100 children per day. There are four components to the program:
- Starting school club.
- Homework help.
- Enrichment, including Romani history, life and culture; life skills; etc.
The programs particularly focus on helping the children become comfortable in the language of the school they will attend, which is not their mother tongue.
Success is a great reward! All Roma children in the primary school at the end of the school year, June 2005, were passed on to the next grade - a great success over previous years. In September 2005, more than twice as many Roma children are attending school as in the previous year.