Opportunities of Roma Education in the Civic Sphere in Slovakia – The project Omama
One of the biggest social problems of Slovakia is the problem of exlcluded communities living in generational poverty. The problem has been inherited for decades and the state is slowly approaching it. The Cesta von (Way out) Civic Association was founded in 2018, its mission is to help people trapped in extreme poverty and generational poverty, to create jobs and to promote their individual and professional development. Coinciding with the formation of the association, the Ómama program was born, which soon became very successful.
The purpose of the project is twofold. On the one hand, early development of children aged 0-3 in a segregated community to fulfill develop potential, and on the other hand, helping parrents to understand the importance of care and proper stimuli for children in order to to succeed later in school and in other areas of life, and helping Roma to break out from their environment and current way of life.
The Omamas come from the Roma. The program offers employment to women who came from the same enviroment as the children and they often act as role models not just to the children but their parents as well. They inspire them to do better. The Omamas attend trainings regularly, they are helped, taught and trained by psychologists, special educators and doctors.
Children are developed with a variety of stimuli, and a web-based system helps them choose what activity is the most appropriate for the child’s age. The smallest ones focus on visual and auditory stimuli, concentration and coordination, and the older ones also have more complex series of educational games. The parents also take part in the classes and even get homework. Over time, they realize that the children needs a session because they see progress.
In 2019, the Omamas have won the first place in a prestigious international award SozialMarie that recognizes the best social innovations in Central Europe.