Ready Set Go! - Increasing Early Childhood Development Outcomes for Roma Children

Your Story Start – in Mures County

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On 27 November 2015, the first Your Story sessions began in Beica de Jos and Deaj (Mures County) as part of the “Ready Set Go!” project. During the sessions, the mothes of the children included in the “Ready Set Go!” project from the 2 localities learnt how to tell to their children the story “At the Kindergarten” – a preschool children book themed on education.

Your Story Program is an empowerment program, aimed at developing the skills of the caregivers in learning how to read stories to the children and at combating functional illiteracy.

A Different Kind of Story at Your Story (Cazanesti, Ialomita)

 

 YS Cazanesti 4IMG_1372On January 29, 2016, as part of the “Your Story” Program in Cazanesti (Ialomita County), it was commemorated the International Day of the Roma Holocaust victims during 1941- 1945. At the event, the organizers had a special guest – a survivor of deportations to Transnistria. The survivor, Michael Gica, born in 1930, remembered the days when in the village Tuguiatu (Braila County), a merely child of only 10-12 years was taken by the orders of General Antonescu, boarded in carts with family and other relatives and led away in Transnistria with the promise that there the family would receive work. All those promises turned out to be lies, people were dispossessed all their assets (carts, gold and other objects) and separated from their families.

Deportees were forced to work hard even though ill. Many died of starvation or disease due to brutal treatment by guards from the camps. As a child, Michael Gica saw around himself death and pain, but retained the belief that the days will come when he will reconnect with his family that he had been separated from and whom he has not seen it ever since. At the day of his release, he returned to Romania, but this time in the town of Grindu (Ialomita County) in 1944. All this were happening during a hard winter in shabby huts, while eating Manduca (a dough from corn and wheat bran) and hoping for a new beginning. But here they were persecuted by the Germans, leaving for Cazanesti, where Nea Gica later on had a family with a girl and three boys.

Thus, at the special event of the “Your Story” Program, among children stories, we listened to a real and frightening story from which we understood that the most valuable thing is the life. The covering of the special event in Cazanesti was done by the organizing team of the Your Story sessions (Mihaela Pana and Anisoara Manea), along with local project team – the Educator, the Mediator, and the Community Facilitator.

About Your Story

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Your Story is an interactive program in the community and consists in a series of sessions for the caregivers, facilitated by one of them, through which they learn how to read stories to their children and how to support their educational development.

Your Story is an empowerment program for Roma women through which, with the use of books for children, the caregivers of the children read to their children at home and talk with the other parents about the impact that reading has onto children’s life and their educational development.