14 February 2018
Last Updated: 14 February 2018
by Giacomo MANCA

On the 8th of February, the European Economic and Social Committee hosted a roundtable meeting co-organised by a group of civil society networks on the Healthy Development of Roma Children in the National Roma Integration Strategies. The meeting collected the inputs of,Eurochild, the European Public Health Alliance, The Roma Education Found and the Open Society Foundations among other organisations.

The conference presented a study from the Romani Early Years Network (REYN), reporting on the European the situation of Roma children with a particular look at those aged from 0 to 3 years old, a very key phase in the development of self-consciousness, which have a deep effect on shaping believes, feelings but also future attitudes and opportunities of children.

Early childhood development is a theme absent in the Roma Integration Strategies of many countries, which presumes an integrated approach to children needs in this very delicate phase of children development. In many countries Romani parents lack any support to provide adequate preventive healthcare to their children, who continue to be segregated in Roma-only schools. Moreover, many of the obstacles for children to enrol in kindergartens (often subjected to parents’ employment), and  professionals working with children(teachers, school-managers, educators, community workers), are often not prepared to respond to the needs of their Roma pupils.

A full public report with the key findings of the study will soon be published. 

The Romani Early Years Network (REYN) is a network organisation existing in 10 European Countries, active in monitoring the situation of Roma Children in Europe and Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe. REYN advocates for better strategies for inclusion of Romani children in preschool education, and produces comprehensive studies focusing on the wellbeing of children.
Get in contact with them in your own country, to share information on the challenges and experiences encountered by the Salvation Army’s projects working with Roma children, to share experiences, raise awareness on additional problems and participate in joint advocacy measures.

Tags: Europe