“TOGETHER” information campaign brings a change to Zeu family
Svetlana and Igor Zeu have two children – Patricia, age 14 and Igor Jr., age 4. Two years ago, they watched spots on TV encouraging parents to hug their children, talk and play with them, and read to them from the first month of life. These spots were part of “Together”, a national campaign for Early Childhood Development launched in 2006 and sponsored by the Moldovan Ministries of Education and Youth and Health and Social Protection, in partnership with the Moldovan Orthodox Church and UNICEF.
“My wife and I live in a rural area, where people think that children under 3 years of age don’t understand anything, so they cannot learn. We didn’t communicate with our children when they were very small because we were taught to think that babies and young children are unable to learn.” said Igor.
The “Together” campaign encouraged parents and families to spend quality time with their infants and children and promoted physical and verbal expressions of affection, conversation and other activities that support intellectual development and social and emotional wellbeing. The “Together” Campaign, specifically encouraged mayors, doctors, teachers, educators, clergy, and other community leaders to communicate the importance of expressions of affection to caregivers of children under the age of 3. Spots promoting these concepts were run on major Moldovan television and radio stations. Schools also conveyed these messages through specially designed sessions.
The “Together" Campaign has made a notable impact on Zeu family. Igor, who was 2 years old at the launch of the campaign, began receiving more attention from all members of his family. Igor Zeu now plays with Igor Jr. daily and his mother, Svetlana and sister, Patricia read to Igor Jr. The Zeus now make it a point to spend time together as a family on the weekends, often picnicking in the forest and playing hide and seek and other games with Igor Jr. “I recognize that we did not communicate with our older daughter Patricia to the same extent as we communicate with Igor Jr., because we did not realize how important this was. “Together” made us understand that we should pay attention and offer time to children as early as possible, because at this age the brain develops most rapidly." says Svetlana.
Early childhood development is of critical importance in laying the foundation for future learning. “Children learn from their parents, that is why everything they hear, see, and feel during the first 3 years of life will directly influence their future”, stated Valentin Crudu, Deputy Minister of Education and Youth. “Child development is a priority of the family, that’s why the mobilization of Moldovan villages to bring the message to every family is the greatest success” added Mr. Crudu during the Campaign’s Opening Ceremony.
The “Together” campaign has resulted in an innovative cooperation between an array of actors from various sectors in Moldova who have come together to promote early childhood development. “It is the first time in Moldova that such a ground-breaking partnership has been created in the social sector. The Moldovan Government, together with the Moldovan Orthodox Church, NGOs and private sector representatives have joined hands to help bring up healthier and happier children in Moldova." said UNICEF Moldova, representative, Ray Virgilio Torres.