International exchange of experience on “Role models at an early age”


On July 13-14, the Trust for Social Alternative (TSA) held a two-day seminar in the town of Lukovit for the international exchange of experience on the topic “Role models at an early age” with organizations from: Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Belgium, as well as with a number of representatives of the Bulgarian educational institutions. A representative of the International Association “Step by Step” (MASS), which finances the event within the framework of the program for the exchange of experience between the MASS member organizations, will also present at the event.

TSA shares the designs and presents the results of several of its projects aimed at developing role models that impact young Roma children and their families. The event also features exciting panel discussions with Raya, Toshka, Desislava, Ilia and Emilian, who with their drive, dedication and perseverance have become role models in their localities. You shared with the publication what motivated you to educate yourself, what challenges you had to overcome along the way, and in support of the projects you participated in, helped them overcome difficulties.

In the second panel, Evgenia Popivanova, director of DG “Happy Childhood” (Plovdiv), Anahid Mihailova, director of DG “Sun” (Lukovit), Spaska Mihailova, association “New Path” (Khairedin), and Tsvetenka Hadjieva, deputy. mayor of Lukovit municipality. The panelists expressed their conviction that projects such as “Young Roma Educators” make a significant contribution to the development not only of the supported individuals, but also of their peers, and of children in kindergartens and their parents.

One of the highlights of the event was the visit to the “Sun” kindergarten, where all participants were cordially invited by the director Mrs. Mihailova. During the visit, the group had the pleasure of presenting at the children’s graduation ceremony, touching on the joy and pride radiated by the young graduates and their families.

After the celebration, a special meeting with the parents is planned, at which the effects of the settlement of specialists of Roma origin in the kindergarten were discussed. Participants engage in open discussions focused on the language integration and socialization of children in kindergarten, the trusting relationship between educators and families, and the dynamics in the community as a whole. The talks highlighted the importance of representation and positive role models in the face of young Roma educators, revealing the profound transformative effect that seeing Roma professionals in kindergarten has on the sense of pride, belonging and educational aspiration among Roma children and their families.

The Early Childhood Role Models event served as a catalyst for meaningful dialogue, collaboration and knowledge exchange, providing final and tangible evidence of positive audience impact to Roma professionals in early childhood education and care centers. In this way, with the help of partners and colleagues, the team takes a step towards empowering pedagogical professionals from Roma communities, with the aim of building a better future for children and their families.

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