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Different but Equal
Start date: Aug 1, 2016, End date: Oct 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The School Centre for Inclusive Education "Elena Doamna" Focsani, in the school year 2015-2016, is schooling a total of 304 pupils and preschoolers from the South-East of Romania, children and young people with different types of disabilities: sensorineural hearing loss, multi-sensory impairment, associated impairments, and mild, moderate, severe intellectual disabilities. Out of these, over 190 children remain in the boarding school over the weekends where they are supervised by educators and resource teachers. The lack of leisure time activities and reduced contact with other community members leads to increased social inequalities among children with disabilities, to marginalization and social exclusion.Mărăşeşti town is a disadvantaged area that has no economy and most of its inhabitants receive social security benefits or are in extreme poverty. This town is known as having one of the largest Roma communities in the country, out of 10.000 inhabitants, 3.000 are Roma people. Roma children, together with other children from poor families coming from this community, have no possibility of spending quality leisure time. In order to fix these serious shortcomings, urgent intervention is required and this project aims to help these children, bringing hope and confidence for the disadvantaged children, at risk of social exclusion.The purpose of the project is to prevent marginalization of disadvantaged children and young people by involving them in leisure education activities. The main objectives of the project are: To promote active European citizenship among the 10 volunteers and the two communities, by involving them in leisure education activities targeted at disadvantaged children, throughout the project;To develop solidarity and tolerance among members of the two communities in order to facilitate social cohesion in the EU and in particular among the 10 EVS volunteers, throughout the project;To acquire new knowledge, skills and competences useful for the personal and professional development of the 10 EVS volunteers, by the end of the 9-month stage;To increase social inclusion of disadvantaged children from Mărăşeşti and from the School Center for Inclusive Education “Elena Doamna” Focşani through arts and sports activities, by the end of the 15-month project.The secondary objectives of the project are:To raise awareness of the two communities on the need to integrate the disadvantaged children and young people from Mărăşeşti and from CSEI “Elena Doamna” by the end of the project;To develop a network of local volunteers who will be co-partners with the EVS volunteers during the 15-month project;To increase the interest of local authorities in promoting the inclusion of disadvantaged children and young people in the community by the end of the project.The project "Different but Equal" aims to involve 10 young volunteers from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Poland and France (2 from each country), in leisure education activities, such as arts and crafts, painting, modeling, decorations, handmade, recycling workshops and sports activities: table tennis, football, badminton, volleyball, basketball, chess, targeted at disadvantaged children from both communities. The project does not require specific skills or knowledge from the volunteers; it offers the opportunity to any young person aged between 18-30 years from a participating country to apply, without discrimination of gender, age, religion, education and training, sexual or political orientation. The main activity carried out in this project will be EVS; the project period will be from 01.08.2016 – 31.10.2017. There will be creative workshops, socio-educational activities, development of life skills through group games, get to know you games, games of stereotypes/prejudices. Some of the non-formal education methods used: energizers, educational workshops, debate, team building, brainstorming, gallery tour, role play, open-space. By participating in this project, volunteers will acquire abilities in the field of education, they will gain knowledge about Romanian culture, they will redefine the way to approach the socially disadvantaged people, discovering the beauty of diversity. On a personal level, the 10 volunteers will learn to improve themselves, helping children in need, growing up together and developing their creative skills. They will also improve their skills related to professional development, especially in the field of inclusive education. The volunteers will be provided with the best way to grow and develop themselves, that of experiencing their abilities to adapt to new situations. Through this project, we will contribute to increasing the chances of social integration of 500 disadvantaged children (direct beneficiaries of the activities) and reducing the difficulties faced due to social marginalization.

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