Tereza lives with her grandmother, her seriously ill grandfather, and her two blind sisters. Last year, we helped her and 2,500 other children with their education

Published: Feb 22, 2024 Reading time: 4 minutes
Tereza lives with her grandmother, her seriously ill grandfather, and her two blind sisters. Last year, we helped her and 2,500 other children with their education
© Foto: Tomáš Česálek

Tereza is not an ordinary high school student - she lives with her grandmother, seriously ill grandfather, and her two blind sisters. People in Need helped Tereza get through the worst with the help of the generous people who purchased a Real Gift. Deník.cz described Tereza's story in a detailed article. Other Czech children and young adults also suffer problematic fates, and last year alone, we directly supported 2,540 young people through our social and educational programmes.

A significant part of our work in the Czech Republic focuses on children and young adults – with a unique combination of educational and social services and after-school support. We work with entire families and schools, striving to provide education for all children beyond compulsory schooling, regardless of socioeconomic background and segregation.

Eighteen-year-old Tereza's* mother died when she was young, and her father is not interested in her. Most of her grandmother's money covers the health needs of her blind sisters and her grandfather. Tereza tries to earn extra money for the family through part-time jobs while studying, and our retro-scholarship helps make ends meet. The scholarship amount depends on her grades - A's or B's in selected subjects in the third year of her social work studies. "I use it to pay for my school supplies, textbooks, my transport card, my ISIC card, all my expenses," she told Deník.cz. She can rely on her personal counsellor as part of the Counselling for Adolescents and Young Adults programme, which had 449 participants last year. Together, they solve study issues and practice maths.

Pre-school preparation can prevent truancy

To make the learning process more accessible for children, we start supporting them from pre-school age. Socially disadvantaged, at-risk children who complete their pre-school education at least two years before entering Grade 1 have significantly higher chances of progressing more smoothly through primary school without dropping out. Last year, we supported 284 children aged 3 to 6 in various regions as part of our pre-school programme. "We have the opportunity to work more individually with the children. They learn that if they sit and listen, everything will be fine. But if we wait until age six or seven, they can't get used to it as easily," Milan Sedlák from our Central Bohemia branch said. This fact illustrates the importance of early care, and Milan admits that without sufficient support, children may not perceive school as a welcoming environment and may fall into truancy.

According to PAQ Research and data from the Ministry of Education, non-completion of primary education is highest in the Ústí nad Labem Region (over 8% of pupils) and the Karlovy Vary Region (almost 6%). The most urgent situation is in Bílina (nearly 24%) and Rumburk (over 13%), and this does not include children who complete primary school but do not continue their studies. The Liberec, Plzeň, South Bohemia and Moravia-Silesia regions are also above the national average of fewer than nine years of compulsory schooling (less than 4%). Children in those regions are also more likely to repeat years. According to a survey conducted by PAQ Research and STEM for the Ministry of Education, these schools consider the pupils' low motivation, the influence of family or relatives, and the failure to develop pupils' ability to learn to be limitations.

During maths tutoring, we discovered Milan's hidden potential

We try to work with all the aspects that can affect the success or failure of a child in their current and future life. Our Education Support Service offers tutoring and helps families engage with school or leisure opportunities. Through this service, we assisted 1,018 children last year.

Milan is one of the students we tutor. During their initial meetings, our colleague Míša noticed that while he struggled with mathematics and physics, he excelled in English. Under her guidance, he is applying for a scholarship at an international English school. "I would never have imagined getting such a chance in my life," Milan told a reporter from Czech Television's Events.

An essential piece of our "puzzle" is social work with children and youths in our seven low-threshold clubs attended by 721 children last year. The aim is not just to offer better quality leisure time compared to after-school or regular clubs but to try to earn the trust of our visitors and determine what support they need and how to build on that information.

Similarly, we work with youth through re-socialisation programmes. Last year, 73 adolescents and young adults under the age of 20 participated in our activities, and we help them in critical areas of their lives.

Without the support of our donors and hundreds of collaborators and volunteers who tutor in person and online, we could never operate on such a large scale. 

 *The client's name has been changed at their request

Autor: People in Need

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