Near the airport in Vilnius lies the Roma settlement of Kirtimai. A project funded by Childhood is trying to improve the children’s school attendance and result. Teachers in two nearby schools and in the local Roma Community Centre provide individual tutoring and homework support. Besides academic help, the project has resulted in the children and teachers bonding and better understanding each other. When I met with the teachers, they were positive and insightful when speaking about the Roma pupils. Each teacher spoke very personally with inspiring details about each individual child. When mentioning why the children are sometimes late or do not come to school (parents don’t drive them, someone is sick) there is now more understanding that the children are growing up under challenging circumstances. However, many challenges remain. The children are still struggling, but academic improvements are being seen. Self-confidence is growing and the children now feel like members of the school community. It is a small but important step towards helping children learn: making sure they feel seen and welcome in school.
Children receiving instructions from a math tutor at the Roma Community Centre in Kirtimai