Quality education for children at social risk
Author: Kåre Bach
SOS Children’s Villages Association offers a family based care for children without parental care and family strengthening programmes for families at risk of losing parental care.
The SOS operates in 133 countries and territories all over the world so that they could grow up in a loving, caring and safe environment.
Ensuring the good quality of education to target group children is not a core task of the organisation, but still a primary duty to prepare our target group children for self sufficient life. Children at social risk suffer besides emotional traumas also from socialization and schooling problems. Teachers, (foster)parents and support specialists lack knowledge, tools and skills for working with those children.
The initiative was to start collaboration for sharing and networking between different sectors and counties to develop more complex solutions in education for those children by:
- Creating international network for sharing best practice and resources, promoting innovation in education, raising awareness in countries and communities on the topic;
- Developing methods, tools, materials and teams for providing quality education for the target group;
- Widening and strengthening local cross sectoral networks and utilizing human resources for providing solutions in education and social inclusion.
The project had four main activities:
- Gathering best practice and tools from different sectors and countries;
- 5 day seminar in Estonia for sharing and starting international cooperation;
- Implementation and dissemination of gaining knowledge in locations and impact evaluation;
- Network development - additional involvement of CIS and CEE countries.
Nordplus Horizontal support was asked for experience exchange conference arrangements where the leading role was in Finnish, Estonian and Baltic scholars. The conference was open for participants from outside the Nordic/Baltic countries where SOS Children´s Villages Education activities have successfully started. 198 people from different sectors from 28 countries took part, 121 of them presented.
The conference was co-financed by the EU Regional Development Fund and Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Development Cooperation Program and supported by many sponsors and volunteers. The conference programme offered a rich choice of presentations showcasing the experiences of around 30 educational programmes in the participating SOS Children's Villages associations, researches from various institutes, experiences of external partners, study visits and practical sessions. Amongst the presenters were educational workers with long-time experience in education, but also enthusiastic young persons with new innovative approaches and views to educating children.
The closing of the conference featured a panel discussion with speakers from different countries. Drawing on the positions and discussion, Ms Loone Ots, president of the Estonian Union of Child Welfare: "The conference started a dialogue that will go one via existing education projects, online conference materials and established personal contacts." She then added: "Our values are in the eyes of a happy child."
As a result of the project an international network for sharing best practice and resources, promoting innovation in education, raising awareness in countries and communities has been created. All represented SOS Children`s Villages organisations in 22 countries reported dissemination of the gained knowledge and implementation of methods for raising a quality of education for children at social risk in their programmes. Information is shared via SOS Children`s Villages network. New project ideas and actions are raised, some already implemented (Russian team seminar in Lithuania; Estonia-Latvia-Russia cooperation in EstLatRus EU project). More are in idea and planning stage. The main idea of the conference is still sounding – countries, cultures, humankind will be saved and will remain thanks to education. „We must make education happy and friendly where both children and teachers will learn. We must prepare the children to the best of their abilities.“ Mr Siddharta Kaul, President of SOS Children's Villages International.
„It was nice to notice that almost every presentation kept the children in the center of these programs. We have to be active in the field of education because the kids. We have to share our experiences like we did in this conference. It will provide possibilities to do even better than we do now. Should we take the kids with us next time and ask their opinions about what we have done?“ Esa Vierikko, a participant from SOS Children`s Villages Finland
Factbox Project period 09/2013 - 09/2014 Number of partners in Nordplus project 14 5 day conference Keila-Tallinn incl. 1 day for excursions: Haapsalu, Lahemaa, Põltsamaa, Rakvere, Tallinn, Keila
25 education and social sphere institutions visited
9 culture institutions visited
198 registered participants from different sectors - SOS co-workers, representatives of schools, kindergartens, local governments, ministries, other NGO-s, private sector (Prognose 150)
113 outside of Estonia participants from 28 countries (Prognose 120)
104 from Baltic and Nordic countries
121 presenters, 89 presentations, 17 recorded presentations
36 presentations from Baltic and Nordic countries
20 hours of internet transfers in 2 channels (English and Russian)
25 hours of simultaneous translation
83 travel support grants, 107 accommodation support grants provided Links http://sosedu.org Presentations at SOS Children`s Villages Intranet accessable via co-workers
http://sosedu.org Presentations at SOS Children`s Villages Intranet accessable via co-workers