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COVID-19 RESPONSE

Employment of Community Assistants To enhance the impact of a complex educational programme

The interlinked problems of segregation, a malfunctioning education system, unemployment and poverty create a vicious circle for the marginalised community of Csobánka that prevents social mobility and leads to generations of disadvantage. Csodaműhely Association would like to tackle this problem by running a Complex Educational Programme targeting infants, children, teenagers and adults alike.

The Complex Educational Programme currently has the following main pillars:

  • Toy Play Hub – creating an inclusive centre where Roma and non-Roma parents and their children (0-10 years) can play, develop and forge friendships.
  • Afterschool Programme – developing competences of school-aged children via individual tutoring, mentoring and community events.
  • Adult Education Programme – providing an opportunity for adults who dropped out early from school to finish their primary education, attain vocational certificates and advance their employment.
  • Trainings and Meetings for Local Professionals – creating a professional network and providing skills development opportunities for care workers, teachers, kindergarten and nursery staff.

The work of the Association enjoys wide-spread support throughout the community, as they celebrate their 8th year of establishment. However, some programme elements are less embedded in the local community due to their more recent introduction. In addition, it is common that information about programmes does not reach underprivileged families. In some cases, the organisation has also faced organisational challenges due to capacity shortages.

To help address these challenges, the Foundation is supporting the employment of three community assistants for one year (October 2019 – October 2020). The pilot will test whether the employment of community assistants can lead to a smoother operation and greater impact of the Complex Educational Programme by ensuring: information reaches all families, community members better understand which opportunities are available, plus they are motivated and supported to take full advantage of the programmes. The programme also aims to provide development opportunities for the community assistants whose professional trajectory could take a new turn, after gaining valuable experience in the charity sector.

The initial months of implementation proved that the role of local community assistants is highly needed and they provide extremely helpful insights, contributing to the success of the programmes. At the same time, it turned out that due to the novelty of the positions within the Association and within the community, extra support would be needed.

Therefore, the Foundation awarded additional funds towards professional mentoring of the local community assistants. Through the provision of mentoring by Partners Hungary Foundation, the capacity, self- confidence and skills development of the local assistants will be enhanced. In addition, constructive feedback will be provided to the entire organisation making the cooperation of the members smoother. All in all, through the mentoring, the contribution of local community assistants to the programmes will be even more effective. Subsequently, a well-functioning local assistant team will lead to a wider and deeper impact of the Complex Education Programme within the marginalised community in Csobánka.

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