„I would like to remain a RAZA because I have learned a lot“
RAZA's are of key importance when it comes to informing and motivating parents to attend workshops about parenting, as well with translation from Croatian to Bayash language
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Growing Up Together activists called RAZA's are Roma national minority cultural mediators without whom the parenting workshops Growing Up Together Count Us In for families who live in more demanding circumstances would not be possible. Besides acting as right hand of workshop educators, they are of big help to participants as well, both parents and children, namely regarding translation from Bayash languange to Croatian and vice versa.
Although the participants are excited about all they have learned during workshops, it was a bit difficult at first to encourage them to sign up. Growing Up Together activists played an important role because they visited settlements and explained the importance of workshops to potential participants.
“At the beginning it was a bit difficult to persuade them, but I went door to door and explained why this is good for their children. They accepted it and started attending and at the end they were very content for joining. Now they ask for more, they would like to attend more workshops”, Nataša Oršuš, Growing Up Together activist recalls.
As a mother of two she also learned a lot about parenting and this is why she believes all young parents should attend parenting workshops.
“I learned how to deal with children, how to have patience, how to motivate them for some future situations in life”, Nataša says.
Krešo Balog, father of six who became Growing Up Together activist has a similar experience.
“I also liked the workshops I attended, and learned a lot myself. More men should get involved in such activites because it is both interesting and useful. Sometimes I had thoughts such as ‘I am the only man among women‘ and I might not have felt great right from beginning for being the only one, but later I did not let it bother me because I could see how much I was learning”, Krešo admits. He was learning along with participants, he continues. “I have monitored mothers the whole time during workshops. When they realized how much the workshops mean to them, it was noticeable with every attendance, they would come with smiles on their faces and in good spirits."
"They realized quite quickly how there are alternative and better ways to solve problems they have at home”, Krešo Balog explains.
After initial doubts, participants were grateful to me for persuading them to join workshops, Growing Up Together activitst Višnja Oršuš adds.
“Other participants were very grateful, they told me how they have learned new things which they use now every day. The same way I learned how to cooperate with educators, I also learned how to work with children. I have two children at home and thanks to these workshops, I mastered how to be a patient parent. I came to know some thing I perhaps had no previous knowledge about and that is why I would very much like to remain activits and continue with this job”, Višnja Oršuš concludes.
With the main aim of reducing child poverty and social exclusion for all children across the European Union, the European Commission, in partnership with UNICEF, is implementing a pilot-program "Phase III: Testing the Child Guarantee" in Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Germany, Italy, Lithuania and Spain.
Croatia was given the opportunity to pilot programme Testing of the EU Child Guarantee, in cooperation with the European Commission and UNICEF, to work on solving child poverty and social exclusion. To develop new service models and best practices for children and their families, UNICEF will use its experience, partnerships and capacities by modeling integrated multidisciplinary, adequately funded family and community services in Medjimurje County, a region with limited access to child protection and family support services. UNICEF's approach includes three components: access to integrated child protection and family support services, access to early childhood education and access to integrated and coordinated early childhood intervention services.
© UNICEF, 2023“The information and views set out in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.”
Open Academy Step by Step is implementing partner of the UNICEF Croatia for the implementation of the pilot programme “Phase III: Testing the Child Guarantee in Croatia”, funded by the European Union.