Bucharest Mayoralty, the Step by Step Center and UNICEF inaugurate a new Play, Learning and Parenting PrimoHUB in Bucharest

20 April 2023
Members of the panel at the launch of the PrimoHUB
UNICEF/Holerga

BUCHAREST, 20 March 2023. Vulnerable Romanian and Ukrainian children living in Bucharest are benefiting, together with their families, from a new Play, Learning and Parenting PrimoHUB. Through this hub, UNICEF will support early education services to vulnerable children, in partnership with Bucharest’s Mayoralty, through the General Directorate of Social Assistance and the Municipality of Bucharest (DGASMB), the Step by Step Center for Education and Professional Development Association.

The newly inaugurate PrimoHUB, located on Iuliu Maniu Blvd., is a day care center, aimed at stimulating the development of vulnerable children from birth to 6 years old by increasing their access to education, developing the parental skills of community members, as well as strengthening and expanding the skills of educators. The PrimoHUB concept aims to promote social inclusion through early education and care, and it supports both Romanian and Ukrainian children living in Bucharest.

We are happy to continue our work together with our partners to support vulnerable children and their families in Bucharest. This PrimoHUB will provide services not only to Ukrainian refugee children and parents, but also to Romanian ones. It is important that our support for children’s education and inclusion starts at an early age, as the first years in life make a decisive difference on the lives and wellbeing of future adults”, said Nicușor Dan, General Mayor of Bucharest. “Since the early days of the refugee crisis, the mayoralty of Bucharest has been in the first line of response and is committed to continue to support in critical areas”.

The physical and mental health of future adults, as well as their learning abilities depend overwhelmingly on the support provide in the early years of life from parents, caregivers and tutors. For children on the move, such as children fleeing the war in Ukraine, access to early education services is vital because of the risk of accumulating losses related to basic skills.

The investments that we are making are not only to respond to an immediate crisis that started a year ago, but also to make Romania’s largest city a more inclusive place for everyone, especially for vulnerable citizens, a city that is more friendly with children and families, and in which the public administration is more focused on their needs. We must start taking the appropriate measures for the wellbeing of future generations, and this means focusing on the quality of early childhood educational services”, said Horia Tomescu, the Deputy Mayor of Bucharest.

As there are no visible signs yet of peace in Ukraine, millions of children and their families who fled the war seeking and crossed the Ukrainian borders are at the highest risk of having their education and development disrupted. In Romania where thousands of Ukrainian children and their families are living, we continue to work with our partners to make sure that children, especially the ones in their early years, can have quality inclusive education services and they are integrated in Romanian communities. UNICEF’s work with Bucharest mayoralty and Step by Step Center is an excellent example of a successful partnership between a local authority, civil society and UN agency, with concrete results for children”, said Anna Riatti, UNICEF Representative in Romania.

Not only children benefit from the newly inaugurated PrimoHUB, but also their parents and caretakers, as they are able to work and earn a living while their children play and learn at the hub. Also, they can benefit from the parenting support services provided in the hubs. Up to present, UNICEF and Step by Step Center have opened 10 Play, Learning and Parenting PrimoHUBs in Romania and are planning to open 5 more where children and their parents will be benefiting from the services.

"We developed the PrimoHUB concept based on our experience in many local communities, which has shown us that when all relevant local actors get involved and cooperate, the benefits for children and their families can be immediate. More importantly, early childhood support for vulnerable children improves their life course and at the same time, in the long run, brings about a change for the better for the whole community" said Carmen Lică, Executive Director of the Step by Step Centre.

The Bucharest Mayoralty, through its subordinate institutions - the General Directorate of Social Assistance of Bucharest (DGASMB) and the Administration of Hospitals and Medical Services of Bucharest (ASSMB) - and UNICEF joined efforts in support of children and families affected by the war in Ukraine. In September 2022, together with their partners, they inaugurated a support hub for refugee and Romanian children and their families on 75 Queen Elisabeth Blvd., and also a support center located at 6A Dimitrie Pompeiu Blvd. In December 2023 a Play, Learning and Parenting PrimoHUB was inaugurated at 37 Theodor Pallady Blvd. UNICEF also supports the Mayoralty’s work at the Romexpo refugee center. At the end of 2022, Bucharest joined UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative.

Media contacts

Cătălin Pruteanu
Media Officer
UNICEF Romania
Tel: +40 726 107 799

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