Since 1999, the Amaro Tan School has been providing primary education and social support for 140 children from the Roma community, from kindergarten through 9th grade. Only 3% of Albanian Roma complete secondary school, and a fraction of those go on to complete a university degree. A new program of after-school academic enrichment at Amaro Tan, starting in first grade, will prepare students for a successful transition to high school and beyond.
Albanian Roma disproportionately live in poverty, a cycle perpetuated by lack of education. 52% of Albanian Roma have never attended school. 14% complete primary school, and 3% complete high school. Only 25% of adult Roma have jobs, most in the informal sector. Even Amaro Tan students are challenged to succeed in high school in the face of harder schoolwork and pressure to drop out and find jobs. Increased academic support for students at Amaro Tan will help prepare them for future success.
Amaro Tan helps 140 children per year not to be among the 52% of Roma who never go to school. Obstacles increase as students get older. They lack academic skills such as math, English, and fluency in Albanian to keep up with schoolwork. After-school classes for students ages 5-15 will help them prepare for more demanding high school coursework. Our partnership with Nehemia High School will allow us to provide holistic support to students and their families, reducing the likelihood of attrition.
Less than 1% of Roma Albanians finish university. For this reason, there are almost no Roma teachers, doctors, lawyers, or business leaders. There are no Roma elected officials to advocate for their community, and few role models young people can see and say "they did it, I can too." Preparing students to succeed in high school and university will increase opportunity in the Roma community, helping one of Albania's most marginalized groups to thrive while retaining their distinct identity.