This project raises funds for the development of a methodology for teaching Bulgarian to students in primary school (grades 1-4) who are not yet fluent in the language. There is an urgent need for such a methodology, which will provide an equal start at school for children whose mother tongue is different from Bulgarian. At the moment TFB teachers are working with 1823 students who are in such situation and would benefit from this project, with more likely to be reached in the coming year.
In Bulgaria early dropout from the education system concerns mainly children from the largest ethnic minority in the country - the Roma. For 55% of the Roma families the main language for communication is different from Bulgarian; moreover, 19% of Roma adults are illiterate. Thus, Roma children face extreme inequality at the start of their education due to their lack of proficiency in Bulgarian which often this leads to their dropping out from school and failure to integrate into the society.
Partnering with experts from the NGO EducArt we developed the following materials which are already being disseminated across the country to students and teachers: 1. Book for the students for learning the alphabet 2. Tactile letters handbook 3. Handbook with instructions for the teacher. We are now looking for support for developing a free online course which can provide guidance on how to use the above-mentioned materials and also a reading book to complement the materials for students.
TFB's long-term goal is to implement the methodology and supporting materials on a country-wide level by working with its public sector partners (such as the Ministry of Education) and to support all children of ethnic minority background in Bulgaria in their academic growth and social integration, ultimately presenting them with a wider access to development opportunities in the future.