Gruppenbild von Kindern und ihren erwachsenen Betreuern

9. April 2020

9. April 2020

Family meeting centre für Roma – children learn by playing

Salie and other children of her age can’t possibly get into public school without some kind of help. They live in a settlement on the edge of Athens. The residents there are severely discriminated against and also keep themselves excluded. They belong to the Roma and Sinti peoples. But she and her parents want to break this vicious cycle of rejection and seclusion. History has demonstrated this is possible: our Greek partner has created an environment where children and youths are given the opportunity to make the transition from the streets to school. You can help us in this endeavour.

Salie can make the transition into public school

Salie is one of those children who could make this transition. She has never had scissors or glue in her hand before. And this five-year-old has only rarely ever had paper to play or for crafting. An observer can see it from the awkward handiworks scattered about the table. But she accepts this challenge and wants to cut two triangles from the paper and paste them together in such a way as to form a star. She has determination, even if her fine motor skills are lacking. Until now, nobody has ever given her the opportunity to work with crafts. Her parents had no idea how to challenge a child playfully. They didn’t know that playing was a basic necessity for child development; as important as sleeping, eating and drinking. And, they never had the possibility to help her accordingly.

Read more reports about our project in Greece

Crafting, frolicking, singing, listening – all of these promote learning

Salie has been visiting our educational centre in Athens for a few weeks now. She has made great strides in learning through crafting, building with blocks, with movement games and communal meals, singing and playing: “Rules make it possible to socialize enjoyably. I can learn how to deal with aggression and other difficult emotions. I can explore and develop my skills. And I am welcome here and accepted.” She is beginning to comprehend how pride, disappointment, joy and anger feel. And the possibility of attending the public school is becoming more of a reality for her.

Would you like to help Salie, her peers and her older friends continue to learn even more through play? Then we ask for your support. We have listed a few examples of what your donation could achieve. 

Background: Severe Discrimination

According to the Greek government, in 2019 about 110,000 Roma lived in 371 communities in Greece. Some years ago, a review of the Agency of the European Union for Fundamental Rights established that the Roma in Greeceare suffering significantly more discrimination than in other countries and hence find it more difficult to assert their rights.

More recent reviews of the Agency have established some slightly improved living conditions in some areas. However, at the same time they confirm the fundamental statement that “anti-Gypsyism”* is regarded as a barrier toRoma inclusion”, which is the title of a review published in 2018. The forward says: “The scourge of anti-Gypsyism has proven to be a formidable barrier to efforts to improve the life chances and living standards for Roma, with many facing discrimination, harassment and hate crime because of their ethnic origin. As a result, significant parts of the Roma population continue to struggle with challenges we like to believe no longer exist in the EU. Homes without running water or electricity, lack of health insurance, and even hunger continue to be realities for unacceptable shares of the Roma community in one of the richest regions in the world.”

Every penny counts …

… to help children from the Roma settlement get a good start in a Greek school.

diverse crafting materials an what it costs

See what your money can do. Thank you for supporting us.

Read more reports about our work in Greece