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COVID-19 Response Member Initiatives The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children from rural areas - A research by World Vision Romania

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children from rural areas - A research by World Vision Romania

by World Vision Romania August 6, 2020
  • More than 60% of rural parents did not work during the pandemic, as the research conducted by World Vision Romania shows.

  • Around 40% of parents in rural areas were unable to provide food, baby supplies, hygiene products or medicines, or just partially insured them.

  • Online school was not possible for all children in Romania: More than 40% of pupils in rural areas did not attend school online.

  • 1 in 3 parents say they did not spend more time with their children during the state of emergency, although they needed increased socio-emotional support.

Life for children in rural areas worsened considerably during the pandemic, shows the research carried out by World Vision Romania between May 10th and June 27th, 2020. More than 60% of parents did not work and 40% of those surveyed failed to provide food, medicines or hygiene products altogether.

The research carried out by World Vision Romania shows an X-ray of the well-being of the child in rural areas during the COVID-19 pandemic, considering three essential aspects: material well-being, emotional well-being and access to education. The results of the research show that in none of these aspects do children from rural areas score well. Moreover, as a family's vulnerability increases, the child's level of emotional and educational well-being decreases considerably.

Vulnerable families and households, on the minus on aspects regarding food, cleaning and hygiene products, or medicines

The research aims to assess whether rural families have reduced their incomes during the pandemic.

Nearly 19% of respondents said their incomes have fallen due to redundancy, technical unemployment or the inability to work on a daily basis. For more than 40% of the parents in the respondents, socially assisted,  however, the pandemic only caused problems. Parents were asked if they could, in this situation, provide the family's needs for certain product categories. 

  • 41 % (2 out of 5) had to adopt strategies to reduce family expenses during the isolation period.
  • 27% of those who have adopted spending reduction strategies say they have run out of jobs due to dismissal, unemployment and the inability to work by day.
  • almost 40% of respondents failed to provide food or partially ensured it.
  • Even when it comes to medicines or hygiene products, things have not been better: more than 40% of parents have not been able to buy them or have only partly purchased them.

Online school was not possible in rural Romania...

About 40% of rural students did not attend online classes. Only 64% of teachers organised classes online. The rest also sent exercises over the phone, Whatsapp, Messenger or worksheets, because they had no means of connecting online. More than 55% of parents do not have a digital device for every pupil in their family; 8% of respondents say they do not have any devices that allow their child to continue their education at home. Only 20% said that in their families the children watched the Teleschool broadcasts organized by the Ministry of Education; 8% because they did not have a TV that allowed them to watch the show, the percentage reaching very high values in Cluj (22%) and Vaslui (15%).

The qualitative part of World Vision Romania's research consisted of telephone interviews with 62 rural school principals from the communities where the Foundation delivers programs. According to the principals, the new school year will begin under the following auspices:

  • 1 in 4 schools has no Internet connection.
  • 9 out of 10 schools don't have laptops/ Pc/tablets for ensuring digital education.
  • 87% of school principals believe that online learning should no longer be extended.
  • 60% of them believe that the educational process will be affected because of the pandemic and the subjects need to be resumed, 16% believe that the emotional state of pupils will be affected and 13% believe that the risk of illiteracy will increase as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Children's emotions neglected in rural areas during the pandemic

Almost a quarter of parents surveyed (22.85%) never praised their child or did it only sometimes during the pandemic. Nearly a fifth of parents surveyed said they only hug their children unconditionally sometimes or not at all. One third of parent respondents (31.4%) said they did not spend any more time with their children during the state of emergency, when they would have needed increased socio-emotional support. However, the proportion of parents who believe they have positively managed the pandemic-induced state of tension was almost 81%.

It is again noted that the proportion of parents who did not provide children with emotional comfort they needed during the pandemic is very high in economically vulnerable families.

"The results of the study showed us, once again, that the traces left by the pandemic deepened poverty and accentuated the factors that negatively influence the well-being of people in rural areas. It highlights very clearly the close relationship between emotional well-being, access to education, parental involvement in children's school life and the economic vulnerability of the family. Those who have lost all or part of their income due to the crisis or those who aresocially assisted are also those who do not have access to education, although they say that education would mean survival and children's only chance to get out of poverty. When we look at emotional well-being, well-being and the climate in which a child needs to develop, it becomes apparent that vulnerable families need to be helped, especially with psycho-emotional counselling sessions and parental education. In addition to the child support programmes  that have helped more than 20,000 children and their families during the pandemic period, World Vision  continues  a very important programme in rural communities: the 'Parents' School', through which parents are accompanied, step by step, by counsellors, social workers and psychologists to overcome difficult situations in raising and educating children. It is also important to remember that in less than two months, school needs to begin... we do not know in what form, but classes will resume, and these children need immediate intervention in order not to lag behind. We call for solidarity and call on everyone who can and wants to contribute to the Emergency Fund for Education and Immediate Intervention for Schools to send an SMS with the text SPERANTA to 8864. ", said  Mihaela Nabar, World Vision Romania Executive Director.

Methodology and sample of research

The research was carried out by telephone between May 10th and June 27th, 2020 and aimed at collecting information from the 6 counties (Cluj, Dolj, Ialomița, Vaslui, Iaşi, Vâlcea - 139 communes with 313 villages), in which World Vision Romania conducts interventions.

The research targeted two groups and used two categories of methodologies:

  • the quantitative component materialized by applying a questionnaire addressed to the parents of the children who are beneficiaries of World Vision Romania’s projects.
  • the qualitative component that used an interview guide addressed to school principals and representatives of local authorities (mayor, deputy mayor and social workers).

The quantitative research included a universe of 1,769 parents of school-age children. More than 75% of those surveyed come from families with multiple vulnerabilities.

World Vision Romania calls for continued support for the Romanian school, especially rural education. Thus, the Foundation launched the fundraising campaign dedicated to emergency intervention in support of rural schools and children with the start of school.

World Vision is considering intervention for at least 6,600 children and 100 teachers from 80 vulnerable communities, and 27 schools and 6 kindergartens for emergency renovations. People who want to support children from villages who want to continue to learn but could be left behind because they do not have resources, can donate either by SMS to 8864 with the text SPERANTA (cost 4 euro/ month) or directly on the campaign website - https://bit.ly/3fc61Fl , where you can donate any amount.

About World Vision Romania

World Vision Romania is an organization that carries out humanitarian emergency intervention, development and advocacy programs, putting the well-being of the child at the heart of its work. The organization focuses on working with children, families and communities in order to overcome poverty and injustice. The Foundation works with the most vulnerable people in the world, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

World Vision Romania is part of the World Vision International partnership present in nearly 100 countries around the world. In 30 years of presence in Romania, we have helped over 500,000 children and adults in nearly 500 communities in 8 counties.

World Vision Romania believes in the right to equal opportunities for children from rural and urban areas and, therefore, in the rural communities where it is present, the organization carries out long-term community development programmes with a focus on education and reducing school drop-out rates, health and child protection, agriculture and rural development, civic and Christian engagement. Children are thus facilitated access to better living conditions through the sustainable development of the community in which they live. Through their projects, World Vision focuses on transforming communities and their members in order to achieve a fulfilling life for each child.

www.worldvision.ro, http://www.facebook.com/WorldVisionRomania  


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