To most Romani children, it was the first time outside their settlement

- News

The Know How Centre has worked with Roma communities for the past 6 years. This year’s program however was their most successful until now: they managed to motivate and support Roma parents of 29 children to apply for kindergarten. A huge milestone and a great motivation to endure their support and empowerment of parents in their pursuit of better futures for their little ones. As a result, the Know How Centre widened their program scope and offered new services.

One of these services was a community picnic in the city center of Novi Sad (Serbia), where children and parents could explore the historical city sights. The Know How Centre offered a short guided tour to the most important places and organized a creative workshop in the park where children could interact with peers of all standings. To most the children, it was the first time they were outside of their settlement, and this needs to be added: their settlement is only five minutes from the city center. It turned out to be a positive and highly valuable experience that will play an important role during their adaptation to kindergarten, when school begins.

Interhuman skillS

The Know How Center (also CPZV) is a voluntary NGO/NPO that aims to improve social development and emancipation on several levels. In addition to executing programs to help Roma inclusion, they roll out programs for families, children and youth (prevention of early school departure). Their applied methodology is to activate different types of beneficiaries through polite human contact, in combination with expert interhuman knowledge and skills.
But they primarily and continuously work with (and for) members of Roma communities of all ages. They endorse their search for knowledge and skills, and strive towards a community where all members have equal opportunities. One of their main goals is to ensure a healthy and stimulating early childhood development for the little ones. So as they reach out to families and children, they organize compelling activities that emphasize the importance of education and schooling in a positive and contagious way.

Start-up procedures and workshops

But the Know How Centre has a lot to share with other ISSA members also. They are an organization founded by five women whom are all experts in the field of social politics. They can share a fair deal of experiences in the preparation of project proposals, project management, evaluation and (periodical) reporting. On offer are also helpful procedures for establishing intersectoral cooperation and advocacy. And they have a well-developed methodology for fieldwork and a huge base of educative workshops for early childhood development.

Seeking evaluation methods

They recognize however that there is still room for improvement on evaluation methodologies for the work in informal Roma settlements. They do seek support through education and training in the field of fundraising. Their team is very open for improvements and acquisition of new knowledge which could improve their work.
Some great words from Novi Sad: ‘Whatever you do, always remember that personal happiness and satisfaction is multiplied by sharing those same things with others, especially with people who are in a position of need. Keep in mind that even the smallest progress you have made can make huge differences (instant or delayed) in the lives of our beneficiaries.’

The Know How Centre (also CPZV) is a member of ISSA, you can find their profile HERE

ISSA is the driving force behind Romani Early Years Network. We commit ourselves to the development of every child, across all domains. Ever since ISSA was founded as a network in 1999 we have grown significantly – sharing knowledge and tools to improve the quality of Early Childhood Development and its workforce. In (pre)schools, crèches, kindergartens and daycare centers across Europe, and in other services for all young children and their families. As a network, we gather and generate prominent studies and insights on child development and learning and convey them to our peers, member organizations and policy makers, so they can put them to good use.



Toybox: Working with Traveller families in Northern Ireland

- Blog | REYN Admin

by Shirley Gillespie, REYN member from the Early Years organization.

Travellers are a distinct ethnic group within Irish society (recognised through such legislative provision as the Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 and Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998). Their lifestyle and culture, based on a nomadic tradition, set them apart from the settled community. They are widely acknowledged as one of the most marginalised and disadvantaged groups in Irish society, facing social exclusion, widespread disadvantage and discrimination.

All Traveller parents face challenges when caring for their children and young families, some families face additional burdens such as poverty, isolation and depression. Home visiting programmes like Toybox have been shown to be effective at working with families and supporting them develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to deal with issues such as these.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Toybox aims at enhancing the social, educational, emotional, physical, language and cognitive development of children as well as strengthening the capacity of Traveller parents to support their children’s well-being and eagerness to learn.

Particularly, the Toybox uses a rights-based service development model to significantly reduce the social and education inequalities experienced by young Traveller children through an outreach play-based early intervention service provided in partnership with children and parents.

Toybox conceptual framework of the child in the context of their family and community has been informed and influenced by Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory. This explains how social and environment impacts on the child’s growth and development.
Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory

Without family involvement, intervention is likely to be unsuccessful, and what few effects are achieved are likely to disappear once intervention is discontinued”. Urie Bronfenbrenner (1974)

If you want to learn more about Toybox, please download Shirley Gillespie’s presentation.