We firmly believe education is a way out of poverty.
The purpose of our Tackling Poverty Through Education (TPTE) programme is to prevent school drop-out, fight against poverty, promote social inclusion and integration, and support growth through education, community involvement, and access to opportunities.
We support hundreds of families to ensure children and young people have the best chance of an education, to lead fulfilling lives, and ultimately break the cycle of poverty that many are born into.
We recently spoke to Ecaterina Croitor, Programme Director for TPTE, about how important the support is to the people we help in Romania.
‘In the simplest way possible, TPTE is a chance for hundreds of children to discover an inclusive world where everyone finds their own place and role’.
Ecaterina has been with FARA since 2015, and credits the desire to work at FARA as primarily related to our shared values: to meet the needs of one’s neighbour and to contribute to reducing suffering. Here she explains her role, and a typical day at FARA:
‘A typical day is spent meeting my team and setting priorities for both TPTE and St. Nicholas [one of FARA’s programme centres], usually followed by a field visit. Depending on the situation, this could mean meeting with authorities related to the beneficiaries, checking how activities are carried out, and supporting colleagues with their professional responsibilities’.
‘Part of the time is allocated for meetings with parents of beneficiaries, educational institutions, NGO partners, and volunteer clubs’.
‘But among all these, my most important role is to support my team: by encouraging reflection, exploring work and recognising the skills and abilities of team members, and supporting them to maintain a harmonious working relationship, and cultivate the team spirit.’
What is the typical background of the children and families TPTE supports?
‘Ten years ago, we could talk about families without a solid roof over their heads, without access to drinking water and children with no means to complete at least compulsory education. In 2023, things are different. The presence of FARA Foundation for so many years has made the standard of living rise. The houses of many of the beneficiaries are clean and neat and offer good enough living conditions and they have access to water, thanks to the involvement of FARA in the identification of groundwater and the construction of wells.
‘The biggest problem remains to provide daily food, with a caloric intake that allows healthy development of children‘. Which is why one of the main focuses of TPTE is to provide a hot meal, for every child, every day, as part of our after school support sessions.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
‘The satisfaction comes from the progress recorded by children and families. I mean both in terms of increasing the capacity for emotional self-regulation, and progress at school or at work. Parents also need to be seen, heard, validated, understood, and getting closer to parents (by maintaining contact with them but also parental education organised in the form of group meetings) means an extra step towards achieving the goals set for each beneficiary.’
‘Recently, the reunion of two of the children with their mother, after many challenges, has been a real highlight of my work’.
Can you describe the impact FARA has made over the years?
‘I strongly believe that FARA contributes significantly to increasing the quality of life of vulnerable beneficiaries, contributes to the social inclusion of these people, and enables them to find their place and purpose in the world. In other words, FARA contributes to changing mentalities, which is essential in a constantly changing society.’
You can read more about TPTE here