The start of the new academic year is an important time of year for FARA Charity. In the deeply rural district of Suceava in northern Romania whole communities struggle to find regular work. Many parents travel long distances to look for employment particularly at this harvest time. Life is tough. The school dropout rates are very high in this area. Kids schoolwork takes second place to household chores. FARA’s Tackling Poverty Through Education programme was set up to support children’s attendance at school. With every year of education achieved, the chances of a child ending up in poverty reduce by 5%.
The second youngest of seven children, nine year old Florentina often finds herself in charge of her little sister. Her mother and older siblings are at work in local vineyards and harvesting vegetables to provide the family with a meager income. They are often away for days on end. Florentina’s older sisters gave up going to school as they didn’t have room at home to study or do their homework. Florentina’s mother is opposed to her going to school because she believes it will not bring her financial gain in the future – which is hard as Florentina loves school and participating in FARA’s after school activities where she gets help with reading and plays games with other children.
75% of children on FARA’s Tackling Poverty Through Education programme live in one-room houses without electricity or clean water with up to nine other family members. 50% of children have parents who didn’t attend school and are illiterate.
25% of children on FARA’s programme are cared for by their grandmothers.
In October, this year 250 children will start their new school term supported by FARA. This means a daily hot meal served at school, school equipment and books, regularly attending homework clubs and receiving support with learning and a social worker to oversee the whole family’s wellbeing.
With FARA’s support Florentina regularly attended school last year. She passed all her end-of-year exams and completed her first grade. Florentina enjoys being at school and is a quick learner. She is a cheerful girl who loves her teachers very much and despite family pressures she is committed to her education. FARA’s programme manager in Romania reports that.
“She would love to have a new schoolbag and some new shoes so she doesn’t have to use the well-worn ones her big sister has passed on to her.”
Please continue to support FARA so more children like Florentina can start the new school year with all they need and help give them a chance to gain a full education and the promise of a poverty-free future.
Find out more about FARA’s programmes visit www.faracharity.org