|School Mediation Program|
|Thursday, 11 April 2013|
Balkan Sunflowers established its School Mediation Program in 2010 under the pilot project "School Mediators" funded by the OSCE. The project aims at increasing access to education for children from disadvantaged communities, in particular Kosovo Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian, by encouraging enrolment and preventing children dropping out of school.
The program supports the work of 15 school mediators in ten municipalities in Kosovo, including those where Balkan Sunflowers runs learning centers - Fushë Kosova/Kosovo Polje, Shtime/Štimlje, Obiliq/Obilić and Gračanica/Graçanicë -, and adding Podujevë/Podujevo, Gjakovë/Djakovica, Pejë/Peć, Prizren, Dubravë/Dubrava, and Lipjan/Lipljan. Balkan Sunflowers school mediators are currently working in the 35 schools that comprise the majority of children from Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in the targeted municipalities.
Mediators have been trained by education experts and since they belong to the communities where they work, they have easier access to families than any other social worker. Mediators’ main tasks are: ensuring children enrolment in school, preventing interruption of their school attendance, individuating problems pupils may face regarding their schooling and put in place remedy actions, and mediating among families, schools and municipal administrations. Approximately 10,000 people benefit from this program.
Given the successful results of the program, Balkan Sunflowers is seeking for its institutionalization under the framework of the "Strategy for the integration of Roma Ashkali and Egyptian communities". To this end, and in cooperation with the OSCE, Balkan Sunflowers has published a Kosovo School Mediation Training Manual, which aims at normalizing the figure of the school mediator in the context of Kosovo. In the same line, Balkan Sunflowers is in the process of signing Memorandums of Understanding with the Directorates of Education of the aforementioned municipalities in order to involve them in their activities and include the school mediator among the municipal educational framework.
The program is currently supported by People in Need/Czech Development Agency, the Netherlands Embassy and the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 April 2013 )|