Rosa has caring parents who want the best for their eight-year-old daughter. They keep her clean and make sure she goes to school.
But with the best will in the world they are unable to give her all the support she needs. Dad earns very little: in the summer he sells water melon and does odd jobs, working with his horse and cart. Mum has serious health problems and a baby to look after. Home is a single room which the family of four shares with a grandparent.
Mum can neither read nor write. Dad can, but not to the extent of being able to help his daughter with homework. He completed just four years of primary school.
Rosa’s big needs are educational support and nutritious cooked food. Talita Kum, Blythswood Care’s after-school programme in Jimbolia, Romania, provides her with both.
Carmen Popa has observed the little girl’s progress over a year. “Rosa used to be too shy to say anything in front of the class,” she says. “Now she has confidence to answer a question in front of the other children. She’s starting to really enjoy school.”
Opened in 2001, Talita Kum offers a cooked meal, extra tuition with school work and access to hot showers to 41 children from lowincome families. The full programme includes Bible stories, art, music and drama and is designed to build the confidence and discover the talents of children who would otherwise be seriously disadvantaged at school.
Photo above: Talita Kum has given Rosa the confidence she needs to participate at school