Toy Library – a Chance for Roma Children to Be Integrated into the Educational Process

A library for integration and education in a Moldovan village

08 October 2018

In summer, the Roma children from Vulcanesti village, Nisporeni district, have the opportunity to learn in order to go prepared to school. Thus, after attending a summer camp organised in June for the first time in their village, the children continue to gather together and learn from each other, and develop the skills needed for a successful integration into the educational process. Every day, more than 50 children visit the Toy Library, founded under a project implemented by UNICEF Moldova together with the ‘Dacia’ Youth Resource Center.

We found Viorel in the Toy Library from Vulcanesti village. He was playing table football with his neighbour friends. He is 11, and it’s for the first time he is visiting a youth friendly educational space. First, he went to the summer camp, but when it closed he continued to come to the Toy Library. Every morning he comes here because he wants to communicate with his peers.

‘I come here every day. I made new friends, and we play together computer games, look into the encyclopaedia or play table games. If I didn’t come here, I would stay at home doing nothing’, told us Viorel Alla.

While Viorel visits the Toy Library to communicate and develop learning skills, Ruslan has found a job here. He works as a volunteer, monitoring and guiding every day those more than 50 children who visit the Toy Library. He is 15, and wishes to learn music and English.

‘I come here early in the morning. Since it’s the single centre in our village, children come here right after getting up. I keep the order here and I help the children to organise themselves. Besides computers and books, we’ll also have some musical instruments. Thus, I’ll be able to study music’, said Ruslan.

Vulcanesti Toy Library is an open space for everybody. According to Petru Cobzaru, the project local coordinator, the Toy Library has everything needed to play and learn. The children choose the game and their game partners, and this helps them to observe certain rules.

Before the Toy Library was founded, children would spend their time in the streets. They had no occupation. There is no post office in the village, nor a house of culture, nor a playground. The Toy Library is an opportunity for them. It’s a chance for them to develop the skills they need to integrate into society. When they came here for the first time, it was a total chaos. Everybody imposed the rules they had in their families. However, they constantly learnt to behave in society. They can understand what is good and what is wrong. Their behaviour has significantly changed,’ declared Petru Cobzaru.

The Toy Library was founded under the ‘Promotion of increased participation of Roma Children in Education’ Project, implemented by the ‘DACIA’ Youth Resource Center in partnership and with the support of UNICEF Moldova. The general objective of the Project is to provide quality education to all children.