The preparation for the new school year comes to every family with a long shopping list: school supplies, schoolbag, clothes, shoes. It is a period as beautiful as it is expensive. The children’s joy of starting school compensates the financial effort. For children whose parents struggle to provide for them the daily meals, the start of the school year, while it is a reason to rejoice, is also a time to feel that they are different from their peers.
This penury, together with the socio-economic problems of the family, can lead to school dropout. At United Way, through our educational projects, we strive to reduce the dropout rate among children from disadvantaged backgrounds. One of the initiatives that we run every year is the “Back to school” campaign, through which we aim that every child in our programs starts school carrying a new and fully equipped schoolbag.
This year, we are joined by the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham Romania), which, with the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its presence in Romania, also included in the anniversary agenda a social involvement in the area of education. Thus, 253 children between the ages of 6 and 14 from four disadvantaged communities, where we implement the Reading Adventure project, received schoolbags equipped with all the necessary supplies. Furthermore, each child received the clothing and shoes needed for school and sports lessons.
Reading Adventure is a project for pupils from rural communities in need. The aim of the project is to prevent and combat the risk of functional illiteracy among children in a vulnerable situation by ensuring access to specific literacy activities.
“We are grateful to AmCham Romania, whose members we have been for almost 20 years, for choosing to bring joy on the faces of children from disadvantaged communities and thus encourage them to go to school to ensure a better future. The best future of the entire community is built day by day, deed by deed, backpack by backpack” – Adriana Dobrea, Executive Director of United Way Romania.
“Education is one of the values that unites the members of our community, and we are happy that in this anniversary year for AmCham we can support pupils from 30 classes in 10 rural communities to start the school year more prepared. Behind every backpack there is a story and a dream, and we are honored to bring a drop of hope to this story” – Letiția Pupăzeanu, Executive Director of AmCham Romania.
The children’s joy was visible on their faces. “Wow! Turquoise is my favorite color, how did you know to get me a sports suit like that?”, “I absolutely love everything, ma’am, and what’s in the pencil case and the notebooks…everything”, “Thank you, ma’am. May I offer you a hug?” these are just some of the little ones’ reactions to receiving the gifts.