The Final conference of the project the ‘KEEP STEP: Education of Roma children and youth for the sustainable development of the community’(http://odrzi-korak.com/?lang=en) was held on 20th February 2020 at the administrative seat of Koprivnica-Križevci county. The Lead Beneficiary (Applicant) of the project is the Roma Association Step by Step (Udruga Roma Korak po Korak: http://udrugakorakpokorak.hr/) and the Beneficiaries are the Elementary School Fran Koncelak Drnje , the Elementary School ‘‘Antun Nemčić Gostinski’’ Koprivnica, Open Academy Step by Step (Pučko otvoreno učilište Korak po korak), Public Library ‘‘Fran Galović’’ Koprivnica and Koprivnica-Križevci County. Among the activities held are various educations for teachers, cultural, educational and bibliopedagogical activities, as well as music and dance workshops, painting, storytelling, circus skills, robotics and educational and entertaining library walks organized for 287 pupils.
Deputy prefect of Koprivnica-Križevci County Ratimir Ljubić addressed the gathering as the host.
– We are aware that the inclusion of pupils from vulnerable groups is a big problem. This very important project has educated children, parents and teachers. It helped all the children, not only the Roma ones. I hope that the project is just an introduction to a programme that we will extend to other schools as well, making it easier for beginners to attend the classes – said Mr. Ljubić.
The President of the Roma Association Step by Step Franjo Horvat spoke on behalf of the Lead Beneficiary of the project.
– I’m proud of what has been done. We have helped the Roma children find their way, and laid the foundation for better education. I hope that we all will continue to help the Roma population of our county – said Mr. Horvat, extremely grateful to those involved in implementing the project.
Deputy Mayor of the City of Koprivnica Melita Samoborec is proud of the involvement of two institutions from the City.
– I hope that this is the beginning of a good cooperation, as well as that we have achieved the set goals, such as inclusiveness and tolerance. There is always room for more work. We recommend future cooperation – she said.
The Coordinator of the project at the Open Academy Step by Step (Pučko otvoreno učilište Korak po korak) Marina Trbus explained that they actively monitored the development of the project and participated in the field visits.
– We recognized the changes from the inside, which went outwards, for better inclusion in the community, at the first education. The turning point was when the teachers went to the Roma settlements and worked directly with the children and their parents. We have just started; we are holding our thumbs up and with all our knowledge and capacities we will strive to make this project a standard programme for schools – said Mrs. Trbus.
As one of the Beneficiaries, the Principal of the Elementary School Fran Koncelak Drnje Ivan Pikivača believes that they have realized a difficult project with hard work, sacrifice and togetherness.
– I would like to highlight that the achievements are a capital for the future; not only for the benefit of Roma children, but for all the children. Our teachers have been educated for future generations. The project has just begun, we will continue with it in the coming years – said Mr. Pikivača.
The Principal of the Elementary School ‘‘Antun Nemčić Gostinski’’ Koprivnica Gordana Gazdić Buhanec, however, thinks that the project has the potential to grow into a programme, which would be implemented in all the schools.
– A wonderful project has been successfully completed. We have learned a lot, shown that we have the capacity for a huge project and that with positive outcomes we can use the resources – said Mrs. Gazdić Buhanec.
Karlo Galinec, the Director of the Library, pointed out that they were pleased to be able to participate in the project.
– I hope that the project will continue in the future and develop into the form of a programme – he said.
The speech was followed by a video presentation about the project itself, prepared by the pupils of the Elementary School ‘‘Antun Nemčić Gostovinski’’ Koprivnica, a PowerPoint presentation of the results achieved and a small ceremony of awarding Acknowledgements to the Beneficiaries and important stakeholders.
The Final conference was also attended by Lidija Gamulin and Renata Osrečki, the representatives of UNICEF in Croatia, since the organization has supported the efforts of the Roma Association Step by Step from the very beginning of developing the project proposal.
The total value of the project is HRK 491,470.00, and it has been co-financed by the Croatian Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs.