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Gheorghe Hagi and five top bloggers visit beneficiaries of The Future Starts at School programme

UNICEF Romania Goodwill Ambassador Gheorghe Hagi and well known bloggers Cristina Bazavan, Dan Dragomir, Alex Ciucă, Toma Nicolau and Adrian Zăbavă visited the community of Făurei in the county of Constanţa, which is being supported by the UNICEF campaign The Future Starts at School.

Between December 15, 2010, and January 15, 2011, UNICEF organised its first online fundraising campaign, The Future Starts at School, to prevent dropout and to help children in financial difficulty to continue with their education. The campaign was successful, both in terms of online donations and posts on the topic, attracting over 62,000 fans to its dedicated Facebook page.

Twenty-six major bloggers wrote motivational stories to support the campaign, about how school had influenced their lives and careers. Cristian China, Dan Dragomir, Cristina Bazavan, Bobby Voicu and Alex Ciucă were the authors of the five most captivating tales posted online. Only Cristina Bazavan, Dan Dragomir and Alex Ciucă were able to visit Faurei the community that will benefit from the fundraising campaign. They were accompanied by representatives of the other two winners: Toma Nicolau on behalf of Bobby Voicu and Adrian Zăbavă for Cristian China.

The guests visited the school and the community of Făurei, and talked with parents and teachers as well as the children who will be helped the most by the fundraiser.

In conversation during the visit, UNICEF Romania Goodwill Ambassador Gheorghe Hagi said, “Education is done in schools and our role as parents is paramount. We must encourage our children to give school the due importance and studying its value. However, the role of teachers is the most important. They must know how to get children to engage in studying and help them make the right choices to succeed in life. Get a child to study and he or she will be enriched. When I learnt a second language, I felt like a different human being. A whole new universe had opened up to me.”

Florina Vişan, a teacher at the school in Făurei, commented, “Before this project, when a child stopped coming to school, I would leave him or her alone. Now I have learnt how to work with parents, to persuade them to send their children to school and make them aware of how important it is for their future.”

Football star Gheorghe Hagi threw his weight behind the online fundraiser campaign The Future Starts at School and spoke about the importance of education in the lives of children. He also signed T-shirts for the winners of the online contest which invited people to post on Facebook about how their formal education had helped them in their personal and professional development.

A Child Like an Egg in a Spoon

“It is like an egg-and-spoon relay race. You have to race a certain distance, walking as fast as you can with an egg on a spoon. At a fixed point, you must pass the egg and the spoon onto somebody else, who must then continue until they pass it onto somebody else and so on – until the finish line. All of the members of the relay team are vital and equally responsible for not dropping the egg. The more you are engaged in the relay race, the greater the pressure.”

Today, during a trip with the UNICEF within the The Future Starts at School project, I was thinking that the lives of various children in their relationship with formal education were like the egg in the race above.
The runners in the relay race are the teachers, the parents, the environment where the children live and their wish to study.
They all start the relay race and the egg-child is always at risk of breaking.
Maybe the school is too far away from the home and it is complicated for the child to reach it;
Maybe his parents cannot afford to get the child to school;
Maybe the child is sent to work instead of school, to feed his siblings;
Maybe the child is afraid of/or is intimidated by the school;
Maybe the teacher is too tired (the teacher too has a lot of issues) and lets the child get away with it;
There are a lot of “maybes” in the school relay race, where the runners in the race are randomly distributed and, no matter how much you train, there is no way for you to know whether the egg will break; whether the child will drop out of school.
And, if the child drops out of school, from now on, there will be nothing else left for the others to eat. However, if the child stays in school, if they all get to the finish line together – both the race and the victory are stunning.

Post by Cristina Bazavan on May 26, 2011



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