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Press Centre (7/2011)

Starting Each Day with Children

In the context of the study visits conducted in Spain and Portugal under the Strengthening Pre-School Education Project, participants visited the Moinho da Juventude Cultural Association, an NGO working on African immigrant children and youth in Portugal. The association, for which Mr. Kalust Sarkis Gülbenkyan, businessman and a citizen of the Ottoman Empire donated all his assets following his death, has been continuing its activities since 1978 in a district that allows heavy migration from Cape Verde and Guinea.

The major problem in the 1980’s was that children were being locked in houses when parents went to work. Accordingly, the association started to provide families with parenting trainings and day care and pre-school education services for children. They are still continuing to provide community-based services for children who are at the age of pre-school education with a programme that has been accredited and approved by the Portuguese Ministry of Education.

Children at the age group of  0-6 receive education and care either from volunteers from the association or the district in pre-school institutions established by the association or in houses from voluntary mothers. Mothers who wish to provide care in their houses are initially researched and receive one-month training and these trainings are renewed as long as they continue to provide service. Houses are being reorganized if necessary according to standards determined for child care and education. Following these preparations, this service is provided at homes with a certain fee each month. Each family/mother can take care of a maximum of 4 children.

Hirondina Lima Andrade Uriga, who is one of the mothers undertaking child care and education at homes, states that she has fondly been doing this job for the past 3 years. She was working with children before she came to Portugal from Cape Verde as well. Uriga who underlies that she received 1,5 months training before assuming this job and says “Starting each day with children is wonderful. Through this model, we also increased our communication with other families. Working with four children also enables us to take care of them more and I think this is very beneficial for them. Everyone who believes in love can do this job after receiving the necessary training. I hope you can also apply similar models in Turkey”.

Community-Based Child Day Care and Pre-School Education Models

In the context of the “Strengthening Pre-School Education Project” implemented by the Ministry of National Education with the technical assistance of UNICEF and financial assistance of the European Union, it is aimed to strengthen the roles of institutions such as municipalities and NGO’s in providing pre-school education services through the development and spread of community-based models (structures that will support institutional pre-school practices).

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Photo by Didem Akan: Hirondina Lima Andrade Uriga
The mother who is implementing community based day care for children

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