Children in pre-detention have access to education
UNICEF/October 2008. Ana Vivdici tries to foster trust and confidence in the imprisoned children
“I feel I have learned during one month of detention more than over my entire life before prison. I only studied up to grade 5 before going to prison, and school was not important to me", confesses 17 year-old Alexandru. “Now I understand how important education is, especially when you want a chance to start a new life."
Basic education programs were launched for children detained at four preventive detention facilities by UNICEF with support from SIDA. Children held at Moldovan detention centers have never been ensured access to education before, although the right to education is universal according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In 2008 when the program started, 80% out of all detained children were illiterate or lacked basic elementary education.
These children are drawn into the education program by dynamic, well-trained teachers from communities around the centers.
“It’s not easy to work with a child with a traumatizing life experience. Getting through to these children is much more difficult, but the difference you can make is much bigger." shares Ana Vivdici, a teacher at the Penitentiary for Women and Girls.
"I feel after starting the program that my time is not a waste anymore. I want to have the chance to acquire a profession and start a new life.” says Nicolae, another imprisoned teenager. UNICEF/October 2008.
School became very important for 17 year-old Alexandru.
“We try to create emotional comfort for the students, to encourage and motivate them. Our children make progress. They enjoy reading books and have dreams about their future. " Ana Vivdici adds.
The young detainees have not been cultivated love or self-confidence. In addition to basic elementary education, the program aims to foster trust and confidence in the imprisoned children.
Alina, a 15 year-old detained: “Sometimes I am so captivated by classes that I forget about the guards. These are the moments when I feel happy and free; it gives me the power to work for a better future.”
The program works for children in all preventive detention facilities in the country, including women’s penitentiary. Courses were developed by the Ministry of Education and Youth together with the Ministry of Justice. UNICEF, through funds provided by the Swedish Government, helped the Government start this innovative for Moldova initiative. The Government will ensure the continuity of the program, as it has the commitment to educate every child, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Giving the children in detention access to education is a small, yet very important step forward towards better education policies, ensuring that every child enjoys the right to education and no child is left behind.