JYSK and UNICEF visited the children in Horgești
JYSK and UNICEF visited Horgești village, one of the twenty Romanian communities where UNICEF’s project, Community Based Services for Children, continues to run.
This was the fourth field visit that JYSK Romania had together with UNICEF in Bacău Country, to see the results of the project and to meet its beneficiaries.
„Before I make a field visit I always say to myself that I will not see anything new that can suprise me. And, everytime, I still discover new challenges and new difficulties that children and their families have to face. Most of us do not even imagine that these burdens still exist. For example, you might need 3 years to obtain a birth certificate for your child. I am moved by the power and strength that these people have to find solutions to their problems and to never give up. And, most of all, I am impressed by their power to continue to smile, by the way they receive us in their homes and share their expieriences with us”, says Despina Andrei, Communications and Fundraising Manager UNICEF in România.
“After almost 5 years since the “Community Based Services for Children” program started, we can see spectacular results in the communities. The vaccination rate almost reached 100%, the rate of school dropout is as low as 1% and the family abandonment rate is decreased”, said Alex Bratu, Country Manager JYSK Romania and Bulgaria.
MEETING LOCAL AUTHORITIES
The first stop in our visit was at Horgești City Hall, where we talked with the representatives of local authorities, the Mayor of Horgești and the team of professionals supported by UNICEF. We discovered the main difficulties that people from the village are facing: migration towards the western countries, where they go to find jobs, and the high number of young mothers.
“Investors don’t find this area attractive. We still have unpaved country roads, and all investors say they need better roads”, explains Mayor Gheorghe Cioroabă, who used to work in social services.
Until 2016 there were companies manufacturing glass barrels in the area. The factories were closed because their activity was bad for environment, and since then people in the area have no other option to work except basic agriculture. This is why they started looking for jobs outside the country. Entire families leave the village or, in many cases, just the mother or the father.
END OF SCHOOL YEAR CELEBRATIONS
Horgești kindergarten is located close to the City Hall, in a new building, just across the road from the school. We arrived at the kindergarten during the end of the school year celebration, to meet the beneficiaries of UNICEF’s program.
Twelve children were acting in a school play named Carnival in the Forest. The class room was their stage, placed in front of colorful curtains. Each child was playing a character from the forest. A bee, a fox, a frog and a squirrel were singing a children’s song called „If you’re happy and you know it” while clapping their hands.
The audience was made up of only mothers. They were applauding the little ones, talking to each other or encouraging them to take a photo with us. After the play ended, the children left with their mothers, happy that they received colorful balloons.
WHAT ROLE DOES THE UNICEF TEAM PLAY
Since the start of the „Community Based Services for Children” program, in each rural community there is a community team supported by UNICEF: a social worker, a community nurse and a school counsellor. Sometimes, the team also includes a health mediator and a social mediator.
By using a tablet and a special software, Aurora, which everyone involved in the project praises, and the community team indentifies all vulnerabilities from each family. After the social census is done with Aurora’s help, the team helps these families have access to esential services – medical, educational and social services –improving the lives of children in the community.
“The team that works for the „Community Based Services for Children” program manages to navigate through many challenges and, together with the beneficiaries, find the best solutions to fight the difficulties they are confronting. I am happy that JYSK finds the time to join us on the field. Because beyond statistics, beyond the numbers in financial reports, it is important to meet the people and hear their stories”, says Despina Andrei.
The JYSK and UNICEF partnership in Romania continues for the third year. Children in Bacău County still need the support and expertise of the community team to grow up with their families, to be vaccinated, to remain in school and to have the chance for a better future.