The “Education and Integration” program is an additional, extracurricular, educational program intended for Roma (mostly Ashkali) and non-Roma children from the social housing program of the City of Rijeka, which has been implemented at the Škurinje elementary school since 2011. It started as a volunteer project, based on the initiative of the City of Rijeka, within the framework of an agreement and cooperation between the City of Rijeka Government, the Oaza Association and the Škurinje Elementary School. It started and remained motivated by the difficulties and problems faced by Roma children in school, primarily from the social housing program in the Skurinje city district.
The program includes children from 1st to 8th grade, about 25 of them, and their number varies with the number of children enrolled in the current school year. The program is implemented in the premises of the Škurinje elementary school every weekday in 2 groups, depending on the age of the children. Each child attends 6 hours of extra classes per week plus regular cultural events (at least once a month).
The goals of the program are to facilitate and improve the involvement of children in the educational process through helping them master the material and developing basic skills, cognitive abilities and social habits; to strengthen their confidence and awareness of their own worth; expand their cultural, artistic and social horizons (visits to cinema, theater, museums, creative workshops, etc.); prevent early school leaving and behavioral disorders; and, in so doing, strengthen the bases for realizing their personal potentials, better social integration and future social mobility.
Previous project experience shows results in better academic progress, raising children’s interest in education and quality extracurricular programs, and better socialization and integration into the wider community.