Gabi is 13-years old. She has never been to school --similar to 1/3 of Romanian disabled children. Kids like Gabi are denied a public school education and opportunities to learn. Gabi enjoys art and loves playing with her dolls; our teachers encourage her to learn through interactive activities. Our day center offers life skills, education, speech therapy and nutritional support, especially to orphans at risk of becoming institutionalized adults or turned out to the streets at age 18.
In rural Vaslui County, where Delia's Friends Learning Center is located, 2,489 kids are registered as disabled. Only 171 receive educational support. Most are denied an education. Teachers don't have the experience or time for individualized instruction.Children growing up in foster care or in an orphanage without gaining life skills/education become adults who are institutionalized or turned to the streets. At age 18, special needs kids often end up in institutions with psychiatric patients.
Each of the 36 children attending Delia's Friends Learning Center benefits from individualized teaching and a safe environment to learn to socialize with other kids. Through education and learning to socialize, we will prevent children from growing up and being placed in an institution because they have no life skills/education.Unusual for this area, both our speech therapist and one of our teachers have autism training. We also provide nutrition support to improve wellness and academic success.
Wherever possible, our goal is to integrate children into mainstream schooling. We estimate growing to 50 children in 2022. In 5 years, we will impact 145 children who are denied an education due to disabilities including medical, autism, intellectual, and developmental. Many also have emotional trauma. Long-term impact includes overall health and well-being. This fall, we will start a new life skills program for our kids who are now teenagers. The program will take the kids into the community.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).