Success story from kindergarten “ Prolet” in Yambol.
Svetlana Zlateva is the principal of kindergarten “Prolet” in Yambol. She shares the problems she faces in the town and the community, and how she manages to overcome them. In this story we tell you about Radka, a mother of two children, who study in kindergarten “Prolet”.
It all began in the spring of 2019, when Mrs. Zlateva presents a plan for renovating a nonfunctional group in the kindergarten, to reach all children of compulsory preparatory age, as well as to include the parents and motivate the regular attendance of the children in the kindergarten.
After four months of discussions with the municipality on the financing and the whole renovation in general, the new group of kindergarten “Prolet” opens its doors for the first time in 20 years. The group is mixed and in September 2019, 28 children, aged 4 and 5, start their kindergarten education. That is how it happens that a 4-year-old boy and his sister, aged 5, are in the same kindergarten group. And that is how Mrs. Zlateva meets Radka.
The first time Mrs. Zlateva helps Radka was due to an issue with documentation. The problem occurs because Radka cannot write, which is the reason the municipality refused to help her. Mrs. Zlateva sends one of the teachers to accompany Radka to the municipality and help her with the documents, and the problem is solved. A couple of months later, Radka shares that she does not have the financial ability to pay her children’s health examinations, that are required to attend kindergarten, as well as the children’s clothes. Mrs. Zlateva gives personal funds and provides Radka with clothes, after which the children start attending kindergarten regularly. At a later meeting between Mrs. Zlateva and Radka, the mother shares she cannot afford to send both her children to kindergarten anymore. Seeing this confused, scared but at the same time, humble woman, Mrs. Zlateva offers Radka her a job. Fortunately, she accepts.
Radka is from the village of Ravnets, in the Burgas municipality. She studied until the seventh grade. At the age of fourteen she moved to Yambol, after she was kidnapped. An act that is common in the Roma community in the region. An act that leads to child marriages and their dropping out of the educational system and therefore of the labor market as well.
Despite Radka’s willingness to start the job, she does not have a diploma attesting to her educational level, as well as money to return to the village to get one either. Mrs. Zlateva helps her with that too – she calls the school in which Radka studied and she gets the answer: “Are you asking about the Scholar Radka? Because that’s how the whole village calls her.” They “called” her that way because she did well at school, but.. she was kidnapped and married.
And that is how the Scholar Radka starts working at kindergarten “Prolet” as a cleaner. The rest of the staff of the kindergarten supports and encourages Radka and she comes to work with pleasure and makes effort to do her job well. Since the beginning of this school year Radka is also a student in the eighth grade in Yambol.
Except Radka, there are another four women from the community that Mrs. Zlateva hired at the kindergarten, and all four of them are motivated to continue their education. They are all at various stages in their educational level and all four had distinct reasons that interfered with them continuing their education at the time. But all of them realize the value of education and are grateful for the help they get.
Employment provides an opportunity for a normal life and prerequisite for a successful integration of young people from the vulnerable communities. These five young women are examples of how people from these communities can and are willing to work and improve, only if they are given the chance.