Care of pre-school children

The Secretariat for Child Care has on several occasions prepared appropriate presents that were given to the children by their peers along with representatives of the Secretariat and their teachers at the settlements where they live. There have also been joint birthday celebrations organized at the settlements for all children born in the same month. After the surgery, a girl with cerebral paralysis was provided with a bed and six months supply of special diet food. All of the settlements have received 150 litres of bottled potable water each. The Roma who used to live in Novi Beograd are settled in Makis and they have been provided with food, while the children have been immediately enrolled in the preparatory pre-school programme.

During the summer 2011, children have repeatedly attended theatrical performances toured the museums, botanical garden Jevremovac and Ada Ciganlija. All kids who have successfully completed the preparatory school program in June 2011, participated in pre-school Belgrade Children Carnival at the Belgrade Fortress. Also, for children who regularly attend school and preparatory school program and have achieved satisfactory success, Secretariat for Child Protection in collaboration with the Secretariat of Education and Red Cross, organized a summer vacation on Vrsac Hill from July 29 to August 5. In cooperation with youth in the village of Makis, an open summer theatre had been organized.

There is also a very good cooperation with the relevant centres for social welfare, since most of the families with children receive social benefits. Through the Centre for Youth Integration, all the children from the Roma settlements in Belgrade are enrolled to regularly attend kindergartens according to their age group.

Preparation program relocated the family to participate in the educational system continues to be actively implemented and in 2011. year.

There is also an ongoing preparation project for the resettled families, aimed at including them in the education system, which also entails motivation and education of parents. The Ministry of Education has provided seven Roma assistants and the project will include the new settlements where the citizens from Gazela live now.

The Secretariat for Child Protection is organizing regular meetings with representatives of the preschools institutions, and on those meetings presents reports on work with children who are living in informal settlements under the bridge Gazea. The reports on the progress of children and the results that every child achieved are discussed. Specific problems that occasionally arise are being solved. It is introduced the practice to issue certificates for each arrival of children in preschool institution, with the exact number of days. In all the settlements is introduced a timely inventory of children who should attend preparatory preschool program from September the 1st, 2011. All children attending this program will receive books and snacks for free. It is arranged a new collaboration with the students of Faculty of Education in Belgrade who will be doing their internship programs and so on involved in inclusion of pre-school children. Also Municipalities of Čukarica and Rakovica have provided buses for children and accompany person to take children to school and kindergarten.

Current Activities

Good quality education is the best way to prevent poverty and the most efficient way for leaving poverty behind. Since education starts as soon as we are born, care of pre-school children is exceptionally important within the social welfare programme and the inclusion of resettled communities. Uneducated individuals become poor more frequently, while children from poor families acquire higher degrees of education more rarely.

Within its realm, the Secretariat for Child Care of the city of Belgrade implements a number of programmes and practical measures. Establishing of good practice among the members of resettled communities in terms of early enrolment of children in pre-school institutions is common to all these measures.

Resettled children, 25 of them, who used to live in the settlement under the Gazela bridge were enrolled in the preparatory pre-school programme as of September 1st, 2009. All the children completed the planned curricula successfully and went on to the first grade of primary school. In 2010/11, 22 children were enrolled and 18 children in 2011/12 in the preparatory pre-school programme. During this process, particular attention was paid to make sure that children from resettled families are placed at pre-school institutions within mixed groups with their peers and that they participate in all events and activities.

Twice a week, representatives of the Secretariat visit the settlements, talk with the families, and collect information on their needs and issues they have. In this way, priorities may be identified in solving of both acute and long-term problems of poor resettled families with children.

Social workers and psychologists working at pre-school institutions also visit the settlements. Members of The Association of Nurses visit the resettled families twice a month. They monitor the state of health on the field and give parents advice on child care, as well for themselves.

During 2009 and 2010, and first half of 2011 the Secretariat for Child Care implemented a number of other activities. Social clubs located at all of the settlements have been provided with toys. Employees at the Secretariat and at pre-school institutions regularly collect clothes for all of the inhabitants of the settlements. Through organized visits, children went to see the Old Court, central building of the Assembly of the City of Belgrade, as well as performance “Walk with Dinosaurs” that took place at Belgrade Arena. Children of older age, some two hundred of them, accompanied by their parents went to the concert of Dzej Ramadanovski at Belgrade Arena. For New Year’s holidays, in cooperation with representatives of Osmeh na dar Fund, the Secretariat distributed 1000 litres of Rauch juices. During Children’s’ Week, the children participated in yard painting at kindergartens and went to see theatre performances at the Children’s Cultural Centre. During each visit, the children were given appropriate gifts as a reminder of the event they were a part of (notebooks, book, toys, sweets...).