Through our SHINE project, implemented in Bacău county, in Romania, one of the poorest regions in Europe, we set out to improve the lives of disadvantaged children, through investing in social infrastructure, health and education.
Over 11.000 children from 37 communities in Bacău benefit from the investments made between 2017and 2020 through the SHINE project, meaning a better social, health and education infrastructure.
We started in 2017 by organizing consultations with key actors, children, parents and teachers, to identify and evaluate the needs of the communities. To ensure our work would have a meaningful impact, we encouraged children to identify the most important things they needed in their communities. They told us that they needed kind people, games and toys, colourful schools, roads, running water in their houses, toilets in their schools, better school buses, and a place where they could eat lunch at school.
Then, the communities’ representatives selected the most important needs, based on indicators such as priority, urgency, the number of beneficiaries or the impact and expected results. In the first stages of SHINE, 37 needs were selected to be included in the project.
“The children and the parents were telling us that it is the first time when someone asks them about their existent needs in the school or the community. The children are often mature, they know what they want and, if we listen more attentively, we can help them shine,” said Mara Matei, SHINE project manager.
A friendly school for children
In 2018 and 2019, the Terre des hommes Foundation invested in kindergartens, building playgrounds, sports fields, bathrooms and proper heating systems for schools, renovating schools and supplying adequate furniture, stationery and whiteboards, computers, as well as buses. On top of that, the process included activities with the children, parents and teachers: through informal education, we showed them how to take care of the new equipment and ensure its sustainability, emphasizing that through a joint effort, the respective common good will have a longer life span.
“I believe that we must learn how to help communities to develop on their own and improve the public policies so that all children in Romania get access to friendly schools and quality education,” said Mara.
The project was funded by the Botnar Foundation in Switzerland.
Proiectul a fost finanțat de către Fondation Botnar -Elveția.