Children in village schools in Romania suffer a double disadvantage in their education. The low income of many rural families produces a home environment less conducive to study. And at school the teachers tend to be less well-qualified than those who work in urban areas.
TK2, Blythswood’s after-school programme for children at junior secondary level, is giving young people from rural homes the support they need to be successful at school.
Florinela is 15 years old and faces a big challenge: can she pass the national exam that will gain her entry to high school? Carmen Popa, a member of Blythswood’s team in Banat region, believes she can.
“Florinela has the ability to succeed,” Carmen says. “Before she joined TK2, she had fallen behind by a year but over the past 18 months she has done well in school.”
Blythswood’s minibus collects Florinela from school each day. At home they have no bathroom and the family of six depend on her father’s wage as a tractor driver. At TK2, 15 kilometres from home, she enjoys a cooked meal, has access to hot showers, and benefits from one-to-one tuition in her school work.
“We encourage girls to think beyond their immediate situation where they sometimes see early marriage as the only way out,” Carmen says. “Her older siblings didn’t even complete primary education but as long as Florinela stays focussed, she should be able to finish high school, get a job and become financially independent.”