Eastern EuropeERIKS Development Partner
ERIKS work in the region
In Europe ERIKS is working in three countries; Belarus, Moldova and Romania. ERIKS work in cooperation with local partners in each country with a good knowledge of the given context.
In order to strengthen our presence and being closer to our partners, a regional office was established in 2017 in the city of Cluj, Romania. Cluj is the second largest city in Romania and a strategic choice for ERIKS to be close to our partners within the country but also in relation to the other countries within the region. In Eastern Europe ERIKS is working with children’s right to education, protection and health. Education and protection being of primary focus.
In Belarus ERIKS focus on children’s right to education, health and protection, with a particular focus on integration and de-institutionalization of children with disabilities as well as youths in conflict with the law.
During recent years children’s rights have received increased attention by the national authorities and in 2016 the country ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Even though some positive developments have been seen many challenges still remain, especially considering the respect for children’s rights. The percentage of children and youths with disabilities placed in institutions is still worrisome, which counteracts the possibility of proper integration into society. Moreover, there is no comprehensive juvenile system. The focus is still primarily on punishment rather than rehabilitation. The recidivism is high and there is a lack of tools for monitoring the rehabilitation upon their release.
Through the projects supported by ERIKS, a better coordination and cooperation between different authorities have been seen leading to a more comprehensive juvenile rehabilitation system
Children with disabilities have received better opportunities to develop and live a more independent life. The awareness among authorities and the general public have increased. By an annual festival, children in institutions receives the possibilities to develop their creative abilities and performing on stage in one of Belarus major cities.
In Romania ERIKS focus on children’s right to education, health and protection, with a particular focus on social inclusion of the Roma population in the Romanian society.
During recent years an extensive work has been carried out in the country in order to decrease the level of corruption and generally a positive development can be seen. However, despite a positive development in the country within several areas and the membership to the EU, the country is still one of the poorest within the Union. The majority of the population living below the poverty line is Roma and they are also widely subjected to discrimination. The percentage of Roma children starting and completing school is far below children from non-Roma communities. There is also a problem of un-registered births leading to lack of access to the educational and health care system available in the country. Without an education the opportunity to receive an employment is limited, leading to further marginalization.
Through the projects being supported by ERIKS more Roma children receive assistance with their homework in order complete their education. They also receive the opportunity to participate in leisure activities, contributing to better school results. Parents realize the importance of education and by creating working opportunities the parents become better equipped to support their family and increase their standard of living. Improved health and increased level of protection are two positive effects for children when their parents receive an employment and income. The organization Kenosis works with the production of wood and leather products as an example to create working opportunities within the Roma communities.
In Moldova ERIKS focus on children’s right to education, health and protection, with a particular focus on education and protection for vulnerable groups of children and youths.
During recent years significant legislative measures have been taken to improve the child rights situation in the country. The school enrolment is high and the proportion of children with disabilities attending general school has substantially increased. There is a nation-wide health insurance scheme in place and a growing primary health care sector. The awareness of children rights, both among children and adults, is however low and not properly covered in schools. Moldova is still counted to be the poorest country in Europe with a high percentage of parents leaving the country in search for better working opportunities. Children are left behind with immense risks including children’s possibilities of completing school, maintaining good health and receiving necessary protection. Sexual and reproductive health is another area of concern where HIV is still a widespread problem in the country.
Through the projects being supported by ERIKS more children living in vulnerable situations receives protection, possibilities for rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Through afterschool activities, including assistance with homework and leisure activities, children are better equipped to complete their education and improve their results. Our projects also ensure that more teachers are trained in children’s rights and methods of working with participation within the classroom. Children’s rights are now being more integrated in the ordinary teaching and new courses have also been introduced at the University to ensure that future teachers are better equipped to teach and apply children’s rights.
Regional Office in Cluj, Romania
ERIKS Regional Office
Blajului 27, 400393 Cluj-Napoca