Workshops that help children and parents living in difficult circumstances
Two cycles of Growing Up Together Count Us In workshops, within the pilot-program EU Child Guarantee, successfully completed
Zagreb, October 21, 2021 – Two cycles of 15 workshops each, “Growing Up Together Count Us In Plus” aimed to supporting parents were successfully completed in Orehovica and Pribislavec. The workshops are part of the Phase III: “Testing the Child Guarantee” pilot-programme, funded by the European Union and carried out by UNICEF Office for Croatia in cooperation with 11 implementing partners in Medjimurje County.
The Workshops Growing Up Together Count Us In Plus have been developed for parents raising children in difficult and resource constrained circumstances and additionally adapted for families of Roma national minority. The program of the workshops consists of three parts: a workshop for parents, a workshop for children and a workshop for parents where they play together with their children. To make it easier for parents to apply what they learn at the workshops in the daily interactions with their children, comics, created in collaboration with experts from the School of Animated Film Čakovec, Center for Parenting Support Growing Up Together and UNICEF accompany each workshop
Jelena Bogdan from Pribislavec attended the workshops with her two children and points out that the workshops helped her in her parenting role:
“These workshops meant a lot to me, they helped me realize that I can support my children. My children and I have changed positively thanks to everything we have learned. I see a lot of changes for the better in their behaviour, hygiene habits and adherence to agreements. These workshops are a great continuation of the effort that my husband and I put into their upbringing and development. We use games, picture books and children's shows to teach our children Croatian.”
Roma cultural mediators play an important role in helping families to overcome language barriers and other impediments.
Natalija Sklepić, a primary school teacher with preschool children, was encouraged to become a Roma cultural mediator by the principal of the school where she is employed.
"Although I was not a participant in the program, but a Roma cultural mediator, I learned a lot during workshops. I applied what I’ve learned in my environment, and I can say that I have enriched the relationship with my own family", says and adds that the word-of-mouth participants spread about the workshops are the best proof of program quality.
As implementing partners, the Center for Parenting Support Growing Up Together and the Čakovec Social Welfare Center, Branch Family Center, are focused on providing integrated services for child protection and support to families.
"As the workshops progressed, parents have become more and more relaxed in sharing their own experiences and the problems they face on a daily basis. Many parents clearly see progress in the relationship with their children, especially in the joint activities and changes in habits and patterns of behaviour. The workshops are extremely important for the growth and development of children living in Roma settlements because they enable them to acquire certain prior knowledge needed for preschool and progress in the use of the Croatian language", explains Suzana Blagus, workshop educator.
"The Testing of the Child Guarantee is a partnership with the goal of achieving results for the benefit of children and families who face difficult circumstances. . The Workshops “Growing Up Together Count Us In Plus” are part of the many activities we are carrying out in Medjimurje county, and we are happy and proud of their success”, concludes Regina M. Castillo, UNICEF Representative in Croatia.
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, 2021 “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.”
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