‘Every child has the right to flourish’, REYN Ukraine members echo

A new study presented by REYN Ukraine shows that Romani children are lagging behind in school compared to their peers. Advocates for early childhood development called for investing in Romani children.

The education and development of Romani children will not be beneficial to Roma only but also to future taxpayers, to the economic sector and to the country in general. This is the main message sent from the Annual REYN Ukraine Conference last week. The event was attended by experts, government representatives, early childhood professionals, Roma parents and the civil society.

New study presented

RENY Ukraine has presented the results of a new report on the status of Romani children’s housing and education. Romani children are lagging behind in school compared to their non Romani peers. The causes of this are: Romani children usually do not attend preschool education so they already start with a gap that they have to fill; also, teachers do not seem to have the right tools to work with children that are diverse socially, economically and culturally.

A large majority of the Romani families has difficulties to provide for their children so attending preschool is of secondary importance to them. In the Transcarpathia region 54.4% of children go to bed hungry sometimes. Although the situation is not so critical in other areas, there are problems with the purchase of clothing, footwear and office supplies.

Also, 35% of Roma parents in Transcarpathia stated that it was difficult for their children to study, in particular, writing, reading and mathematics. This indicates a low level of preschool preparation. At the same time, teachers declare that the main problems is the lack of discipline, which indicates a low level of socialization and adaptation of Roma children to the educational process as a whole.

The conference

The Conference was also saw the participation of REYN members in the country, they asked to policy makers a society where every child has the right to grow up happy.

The REYN network participated in a meaningful discussion with Serhiy Nizhynsky, the Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, Volodymyr Khodakivsky, repr. of the Ministry of Culture, Sayenko Svitlana repr. of the Ministry of Social Policy, a representative of the Children’s Ombudsman Aksana Filipishyna and Yuriy Mandich, Staff Advisor of the mayor of Uzhgorod.

The event took place on November 21-22, 2019. REYN National Networks from Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia shared with the audience their good practices and lessons learned.

The meeting was also attended by Zemfira Kondur, a representative of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine, who said that the results of the REYN Ukraine research were recently presented in Strasbourg during the World Democracy Forum.

Read more about REYN Ukraine.