This summer holiday, Claudia Costea, a teacher and trainer, organised a summer kindergarten and school activities for the children on Pirita, a marginalised community on the outskirts of Baia Mare city. Most of them Roma, and chances were they would not join in for long. Actually, a cart and horse brought to the school some 94 children altogether, with an average of 40 per day, twice a week. Ages 3 to 16, they enjoyed the tutoring, the teaching, the mentoring and the whole learning process. Some of their parents were part of it, as well. The initiative was Claudia's, the heart and sould of this special initiative. She was a Hope and Homes for Children trainer and teacher for the last 15 years. Now, she joined the Social Services in Maramures County, and managed to bring on board the Municipality Social Services, alongside the Maramures School Inspectorate. Hope and Homes for Children and Somaschi have been the two NGOs which supported this initiative from beginning to end.
All 94 children will go to school in the autumn, which is amazing. Otherwise, they would have grown up without any education whatsoever. How much this means for their social inclusion, and for a real life, is simply beyond words.
However, such initiatives require sustained action. These 94 children need a home. A pillow to put their head on in the evening, and a bed, a proper bed, without rats roaming around and without pigs and horses sleeping with them in the same hut. They need running water, and electricity, to have a chance to study in evenings, and to wash their faces and teeth in the mornings. This requires national government and local government action. Infrastructure development, social housing and a sustained vision for social inclusion and keeping families together.
Amazing people, like Claudia Costea, extraordinary organisations, such as Hope and Homes for Children and Somaschi, or strongly committed professionals, such as those in the Social Service and Maramures School Inspectorate - need backing and context: the European Union funding and the Government programmes and public policies to give sustainability and consistency to such projects. Or, the 94 children will abandon school, conquered by pneumonia and lung diseases, or scabies, or rat bites, and their parents will have to leave them in state care as well, due to the lack of housing and a minimal decent living.