Enis is studying hard and dreaming about seafaring
A 16-year-old boy from Bar is participating in a mentoring support programme for Roma and Egyptian students
Bar, 15 April – Enis Berisha is a 16-year-old from Bar. He is one of the few students from the Roma and Egyptian communities who has enrolled in secondary school after primary education
He chose the Secondary Vocational School and showed, by virtue of his example, that even children from the most vulnerable groups can be successful if there is support in education.
I wanted to study marine engineering because I love ships and I want to travel. I also love the sea.
He is participating in a learning-support mentoring programme implemented by the NGO Young Roma, with UNICEF’s support. The programme is intended for first-grade secondary school students from the Roma and Egyptian communities, for whom the coronavirus pandemic and the introduction of online teaching are presenting a significant challenge when it comes to learning.
Due to the pandemic, additional and supplementary classes are not being organized at the school, so mentors are helping children catch up on the missed classes in order to complete the school year successfully.
I am very satisfied with the cooperation with my mentor. She is helping me master some of the subjects. We see each other regularly in the school premises and talk over the phone whenever I need something or when something is not going well for me.
This secondary school student has easily mastered all the vocation-related subject courses, English being his only challenge.
My mentor is helping me learn to read and write English because when I attended primary school, I used to merely copy things from the blackboard, and I did not really learn anything.
It is especially important to him that he has had the support of his parents since the beginning of his schooling and that they are encouraging him to continue his education:
“When I decided to enrol at vocational school, they told me – ‘It is up to you – enrol wherever you want’, so I enrolled at secondary school, so as to be able to find a job and succeed.”
English teacher Milica Nikočević says that mentors monitor students in all spheres of life – both in school and in private life.
We monitor whether they are fulfilling their obligations, whether they are being diligent, whether they are regularly attending classes or whether they have any problems – we are here to help them adjust and to motivate them.
She is a mentor to three students at the Secondary Vocational School in Bar and believes that working with them is yielding the desired results.
“Children who come from a slightly more disadvantaged background can do a lot if we are here for them and if we support them,” Nikočević added.
In addition to Milica, there are 36 other mentors who are participating in this programme, working with 75 Roma and Egyptian students attending the first grade of secondary schools in Montenegro.
Samir Jaha, director of the NGO Young Roma, says that the mentors’ goal for all the children is to have them complete primary school in order to enrol at secondary school.
Together with the mentors, we are trying to keep all the children in the school system, to reduce school dropout, to help them improve their knowledge and socialize with their peers.
The mentoring support programme, implemented by the NGO Young Roma with the support of UNICEF, is part of the “Power for Youth” programme realized by UNICEF with the financial support of ING.