Sisak Colourful Inclusion
Sisak, 17 February 2016.
The City of Sisak and UNICEF presented the ‘Colourful Inclusion of Sisak’ programme at the City Hall today. The programme will be implemented in cooperation with Galdovo Primary School and the Open Academy Step by Step. The aim is to enable greater inclusion of Roma and other vulnerable groups of children in primary school. Providing these children with a better education will help enable their equal participation in the life of the community. The programme will finance the renovation of part of Galdovo Primary School/branch school in Hrastelnica so that preschool educational activities can be provided. In 2016, UNICEF will invest 173,400 HRK in programme implementation.
The ‘Colourful Inclusion of Sisak’ programme includes education and support for school and preschool teachers. This is to ensure the best conditions for the integration of Roma and other vulnerable groups of children into the education system and enable the inclusion of all Roma children aged five to seven living in the area of Sisak to be included in preschool education. In addition to workshops for parents and children that will be held in schools, the programme will establish a sustainable network of activities focused on the inclusion of Roma and other vulnerable groups of children into the life of the local community and implemented by institutions of the City of Sisak. The programme includes around 120 children, including 60 Roma, more than 100 parents and family members as well as teachers and other professional staff and management at Galdovo Primary School and its branch school in Hrastelnica.
Kristina Ikić Baniček, the Mayor of the City of Sisak, Valentina Otmačić, Head of the UNICEF Office for Croatia, representatives of the Roma community and representatives of the Galdovo Primary School and Braće Bobetko Primary School commented on the new programme and the cooperation between the City of Sisak and UNICEF.
The Mayor of the City of Sisak, Kristina Ikić Baniček, said, “The City of Sisak recognises the need to invest into sustainable programmes focusing on Roma children, which is a prerequisite for their social integration and bridging inequalities between the Roma and non-Roma community but also for bridging the gap between the poor and the wealthy. We see this project as an opportunity to strengthen schools and parents and encourage a change in attitudes in public institutions and create an atmosphere where differences are accepted. This will have a positive influence on the position of other vulnerable groups of children, such as children with disabilities, children from socially disadvantaged families and children in foster care. The importance of education inclusion has long been recognised in the City of Sisak and this project is the crown of these efforts and a guarantee of sustainability.”
The Head of the UNICEF Office for Croatia, Valentina Otmačić, stated, “UNICEF and Sisak have long been partners in improving the lives of children. In order for the most vulnerable children to grow up into equal members of society we must all help provide them with the opportunity to gain a quality education. Access to kindergartens and schools is most difficult for children facing the greatest challenges in life; therefore, it is our duty to open these doors towards a better future. One of the greatest values of this programme is linking parents, schools, city institutions, the Roma community, civil society organisations and experts around a common goal that benefits the whole community: to enable all children to complete school successfully. We believe that the City of Sisak can provide a model for other local communities in Croatia.”
‘Colourful Inclusion of Sisak’ builds on the successful implementation of other similar programmes. These include the ‘Ready Together’ programme, at the primary school Braća Bobetko, and the ‘Sisak Colourful Summer’ project. The two programmes included the participation of children and their family members, mostly from the areas of Caprag and Capraške Poljane as these suburbs of Sisak are most affected by poverty, social exclusion and unemployment. The Colourful Inclusion of Sisak programme includes children and parents from the area of Hrastelnica (Palanjek settlement) and thus finally provides access to quality and integrated education for all Roma children in the City of Sisak area.