Online Forum “We are all Children” Took Place in Ukraine

“2020 is a year of challenge for each of us and for our network in particular,” said REYN-Ukraine national coordinator Eleonora Kulchar during the online forum “We are all Children” that took place on November 24-25. “Unfortunately, we cannot look in the eyes of each of you or hug you. But I thank each one of you that you were able to find time for this forum and that you are ready to remember that children have no nationality, social or economic status. All of them are just children who deserve love and support from us, adults.”

During the forum, organized by the Transcarpathian Regional Charitable Foundation “Blaho”, the host organization of REYN, participants discussed strategic goals of the REYN-Ukraine network and how they resonate with the draft of the new National Roma Integration Strategy  in Ukraine. REYN International Coordinator Aljosa Rudas spoke about the challenges faced by Roma communities, families and children and highlighted how National REYNs support them. Open Society Foundations Program Officer of Early Childhood Program Szilvia Pallaghy outlined the child’s interests in the new EU Roma strategic framework on equality, inclusion and participation for 2020-2030.

Distance learning is hard to access

The results of a joint study by REYN-Ukraine and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine on Roma children’s access to education during the pandemic were also discussed during the forum. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Roma children experienced bullying and not fair treatment at school. With the pandemic, this challenges became more severe.The study shows that 51.8% of parents reported that their children were bullied by the teachers, and 47.9% said that children were bullied by other children. In the whole country, distance learning was almost inaccessible to Roma children, as only a third of respondents had a smartphone, tablet or laptop and only 27% use regularly internet. In large families, one device was available for all children with repercussions on their online attendance and performance. In almost every third family, children did not do homework at all.

Encouraging children to dream and grow

This year, under REYN Ukraine, Transcarpathian Regional Charitable Foundation “Blaho” supported financially six projects, and provided advice to two more. These projects were designed and implemented by REYN members in different Ukrainian cities, who  shared their experience and best practices during the forum. Among the projects, there is a street school of primary socialization for Roma children living in temporary settlements in the Lviv region, made possible by the integrated work of social workers, juvenile prevention officers and Roma volunteers.

“Children can and should dream about more things than what they have now!” the project implementors said.

Besides, this year, thanks to REYN, the following initiatives started in Ukraine:

  • An interactive summer camp in Odessa region for Roma and Ukrainian children took place. The main idea of the camp is the belief that friendship begins in childhood.
  • A center for preschool development now exists in a Roma cultural center in Zolotonosha, Cherkasy region.
  • Bilingual cartoons are disseminated between the professionals who work with Roma children and also in the schools where Roma children study and in the Roma organizations
  • REYN donated notebooks and laptops  to preschool age Roma children to support their development and the gradual acquisition of the Ukrainian language.
  • An alternative school during pandemic appeared in the Odesa region.
  • Because of distance learning, computer literacy courses for parents started in Kharkiv region.
  • The promotion of online local initiatives, models and methodologies of preschool development has begun  in Uzhhorod.

It is also worth mentioning that in 2020 the REYN-Ukraine network has significantly expanded. Currently, it consists of one national coordinator and three regional coordinators in different parts of Ukraine. The network management includes eight organizations from different regions of Ukraine. The network has 698 members and covers 14 regions of Ukraine.


- Blog | REYN Admin

CREATING A SOCIETY FOR ALL: Re-considering Early Childhood Services

10-12 October, 2014, Budapest, Hungary

ISSA invites you to participate in an international conference for shared learning and a joint exploration to re-consider early childhood services for children from birth through primary school. The event will draw together reform experiences from the last 20 years, as well as innovations, evidence and practices in early childhood systems. Practitioners, researchers, policy makers, parents and NGOs from Europe and Central Asia will be joined by peers from around the globe.

The conference will mark the 20th anniversary of the Open Society Foundations’ Step by Step Program and the 15th anniversary of ISSA.

You may find more details in the flyer.

If you would like to receive information about the conference, write to or visit

Animated history of Roma, Gypsies and Travellers

- Blog | Adrian Marsh

Dear friends and colleagues,

Our short animation is now live on the Open Society website:

Roma, Gypsy and Traveller identity is misappropriated and misrepresented everyday for everything from profit to politics. The success of television shows like “Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”—whose new series starts today in the UK—highlights the need to intervene in this one-sided portrayal. Today Open Society Foundations in conjunction with Damn Fine Media launches a short, three minute animated film on the history of Roma, Gypsies and Travellers—an important part of the rich identity of these groups and the story of Europe. Primarily aimed at young adult viewers, the film presents a lively, animated account of Roma history from the tenth century and their migration from India, right up to the present day.

Please take a moment to watch our short animation, share it with your friends, colleagues and join the conversation in our comments section by telling us what you think; I’m sure the discussion will be a lively one. Other versions in Welsh, Bulgarian, Czech, Romanian and Hungarian are being produced and will be available shortly. 

Successful REYN Launch – What Next?

- Blog | REYN Admin

We all feel very happy and inspired after the successful Launch in Opatija. It is also very encouraging to see the enthusiasm from all those who took part in it or have heard about it! As an immediate next step, we invite all of you to share your thoughts, dilemmas and insights via posts in this Blog. As another step, before we can organize other in-person meetings, we invite everyone to join the REYN Group on the ISSA Online Community. Please send an email to Once you are on that virtual space, you can create your Profile (so others can see your professional interests), access the library, start discussions, upload photos/videos etc. In ISSA and OSF we are now finalizing work on a REYN budget next year so that we can organize site visits and trainings. And we look forward to a great deal of online interaction and exchanges in the meantime!