The „School for parents” – a space for sharing and support
In 2019 Gavroche Association started organizing „Schools for parents”, which were attended by women and men from Roma communities in Varna, who live mainly in segregated Roma neighborhoods – ghettos. We conducted 10 schools with a total of 154 people, of which 17 were men and 137 – women.
The purpose of the training was to change the attitudes of Roma parents, for many of whom education is not a priority and value, and they do not invest in it, especially for girls. The meetings involved sharing, learning from each other and offering positive parenting ways to support the children.
The main problem that made it difficult for the participants was the fact thay they did not speak Bulgarian well. However, the parents participated in discussions, games, and case studies, during which they realized the need of establishing rules in the family which must be followed by the children as well, and that over-care, without leaving the child the opportunity to decide and cope with difficulties can have a negative effect. During the „Schools”, Roma women freely shared their concerns and problems – impossibility to provide school materials and clothing, difficulties of the children at school, lack of information on ways to support them. Some of the participants shared a positive experience in communicating with teachers, which convinced the other parents to be more active, to talk to their children’s class teachers, and seek help from them in learning the school subjects. They were also provided with information about out-of-school activities, programs and services for educational support.
Important conclusions, reached by the parents, were that education can protect girls from early marriages, it can provide chances for a better life of the children, and that fathers play an important role in the family and should be more interested in school and the problems in it.