In support of its British partner organization, ‘Hope and Homes for Children’ (HHC), UK and their implementing partner in Moldova ‘Children, Communities, Families’ (CCF), Equilibrium helped arrange a study visit for a group from Moldova designed to show current best practice in social and educational support and integration of children with special educational needs in the mainstream kindergartens and schools – a process in which EQ has long-term involvement.
The group comprised 16 people from 4 counties – senior representatives of several municipalities, directors of social services, education specialists, NGO experts and community social workers from Chisinau, Cantemir, Leova, Hincesti and Cimislia in Moldova.
The programme involved visits to facilities in three cities in NE Bulgaria – Ruse, Shoumen and Varna.
On 25th October the Ruse itinerary provided a comprehensive overview of efforts towards integration in the city’s education system with visits to kindergarten “Zora”, “Angel Kanchev” elementary school (where specialists from the city’s Resource Centre participated) and the vocational school “Atanas Burov”.
EQ has working relationships with all of these facilities and it is particularly significant that they have helped provide opportunities for some of the residents of the Small Group Home (the Pink House), which the delegation visited. Our Moldovan colleagues saw their individual programmes, educational solutions and achieved results. The programme in Ruse ended with a tour of the Complex of Social Services for Children and Families, where they exchanged experience with Equilibrium in the field of educational support and particularly, how the informal educational models are changing the attitudes of the children in the Complex and also the kids in schools, with whom Equilibrium works.The visit of the Moldovan delegation continued on the 26th October in the town of Shumen with meeting in the Municipal Directorate for Education Science and Youth Work. The guests visited “Sava Dobroplodni” secondary school and the daycare centre for children and young adults with special needs.
The study tour finished with meeting the team and sampling the work of ‘Karin Dom’ Foundation, in the center for children with special needs in the city of Varna.
Liliana Rotaru, Director of CCF shared: ‘We had the chance to see a continuum of educational services for disabled children from pre-school age to the young adults (kindergarten to vocational school), and how services compliment each other: school and day care, school and specialized foster care, foster care and daycare, services for children and adults, etc. All participants applauded the relevance and the impact of what they saw in Bulgaria.’