The community matters: working with Roma parents

What is the purpose of the Community Matters programme? To build real cooperation between teachers and parents, who can only work well together if they have common interests and good relationships. What do we do during the project? We organise workshops for teachers and parents to bridge the gap between them, to overcome misunderstandings and negative experiences. One of our favourite [...]

What is the purpose of the Community Matters programme?


We are building real cooperation between teachers and parents, who can only work well together if they have common interests and good relationships.


What do we do during the project?

We organise workshops for teachers and parents to bridge gaps, misunderstandings and overcome previous negative experiences. One of our most popular trainings is the "Parents in School" training, where we prepare parents to run different activities in their child's classroom and the teacher assists as needed. Afterwards, the parents have the opportunity to give a session in their child's classroom during a lesson:

  • the parent can see the teacher's work,
  • the child enjoys the involvement of his parents and becomes proud of his parents,
  • and joint preparation brings the teacher and parent closer together.

Within the framework of the project, there is the possibility of mini project organised by teachers and parents using the basics of community planning. They spend a lot of time together in the planning and organising process, which helps them to get to know and accept each other even better, and to discover each other's values.

After each session, teachers write an essay about their experience. Similar essays are also written after family visits. From the essays and the experiences of the last 3 years manual on other aspects of teacher-parent cooperation. Family visits are designed into the project based on the needs of the teachers.

"I thought I was going to visit a middle-class Roma family because they always kept the children so nice and clean and the parents were very nice too. I was surprised to see a poor Roma family, and they were very clean. I was honoured to be allowed into their home, they welcomed me with great love. At the beginning they were nervous and so was I, but then we relaxed and found a lot of common ground. It was quite different to talk in this setting than in a reception, and somehow since then it has been even easier to work with both the parents and my little student. "

  • Our "Community Matters" project has been running for 4 years in Nyírbátor, supported by the Foundation Open Institute for the 2019-2020 academic year. Our grant is 15000 USD.
  • Over the years, we have enjoyed a very positive cooperation with the Hungarian-English Bilingual Primary School and Primary Art School in Nyírbátor. The openness of the school's management has greatly contributed to the success of our project.


What happened in 2020?

In March 2020, schools switched to a digital timetable due to the Crown virus. This change is not necessarily easy, even in places where everyone has their own devices at home and is familiar with using different programmes. And where families are not well versed in the world of apps and the internet, it is particularly important to join forces and support.

Together with parents and Roma mediators, we are working together to gather the most relevant information and make it available to all stakeholders. The Roma mediators, who are parents themselves, have created a Facebook group together with the teachers, where all stakeholders are invited, first to have a common platform to exchange information. There is a lot of activity in the group, with questions followed by questions. "How to upload a picture in chalk, do you know? Where do the children have to go for lunch or do they drop it off for us?"

One of the teachers prepared a comprehensive note for the evening answering all the questions, plus a description of how to upload homework to the Chalk system, so everyone knows how to use the interface.

See if it works for you too:

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This is the power of unity!

What happens in 2021?

In Nyírbátor, we continue to work with parents through the Storytelling Mothers (MesÉd) programme. A programme aims to break down the disadvantages caused by social exclusion and feelings of inferiority. We organise group meetings for Roma mothers in difficult circumstances, currently in Nyírbátor, so that they can experience the joy of reading a story and pass it on to their children. The method is the brainchild of sociologist Furugh Switzer. The programme was also conducted online during the outbreak of the coronavirus through the Zoom app, thanks to a previous programme that had built parents' trust in us and provided them with smart devices and internet access, as well as training in the use of the different apps - so they were able to engage in digital education during the outbreak, reducing drop-outs.

Local mums have made an amateur video to capture for themselves what happens in a MESED session and have given us permission to publish it. Have a look for yourself!



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