Gradinita Rasarit in Bucharest – Romania

Objective:

To continue to offer high quality Neo-humanist education, integrating special needs children, in the “Gradinita Rasarit” kindergartens in Bucharest

Background:

Recent accomplishments:
In the past year, AMURTEL successfully obtained authorization from the Ministry of Education for Gradinita Rasarit in Mihai Bravu, Bucharest, which represented a major turning point in quality and recognition in the society for NHE. In addition, two senior teachers that have been employed 17 years in the kindergartens completely their university education, sponsored by AMURTEL and are now qualified teachers, with extensive NHE experience, and an important asset for improving the professionalism of the project. We also have hired an educational director with 30 years of experience, and well connected within the educational community of Bucharest, thus positioning us to be able to increase the visibility of NHE.

Renovation project in the summer:

The buildings were deteriorating, and in order to pass inspections and obtain 2 types of authorization from the Health Department, this summer, we received a grant from Amici Nel Mondo Italia of 7000 euros to renovate the kindergarten in Bucuresti Noi. AMURTEL additionally invested another 3000 euros to complete the renovation.

Further emergency renovations required overbudget. When the inspections arrived in September, after the grant money was consumed, the inspectors insisted on further renovations that had not been planned in the budget. Consequently, we were obligated to invest in thermopane doors, new tiling in the bathroom, and other repairs. To cover these expenses, money that was being saved for the wage tax payment in January was spent, and we must find funding to reimburse it by then.

Unfortunately, the financial crisis has severely impacted Romania – and enrollments in the schools have dropped, as parents have lost jobs and seek cheap or free alternatives for childcare – so we have not been able to recover these expenses, and we remain in a minus for paying the wage taxes. In addition, we are unable to buy certain necessary and urgent supplies – such as vacuum cleaners for each location (they are broken in both places).

Urgency:

We are in urgent need of 2000 USD to reimburse the emergency repairs done in order to keep the school authorized. Without such funds, we are at risk of bankruptcy which could lead to a closure of the projects and a loss of properties.
In addition, we have submitted a 20,000 euro project proposal which we expect to receive in June 2010 for extensive renovations of the kindergarten in Mihai Bravu zone, but if the kindergarten closes before then, we will lose this funding opportunity.

Sustainability:

As the kindergartens have low enrollment, our plan is to transform the one which is not yet authorized into a social service project for homeless mothers and children and receive state funding and grants to sustain the project. AMURT has already received funding for a similar project, and there is a great need in Bucharest of such services, so the probability of funding is quite high.
In 2010, the recession in Romania is expected to lighten, and we will be investing in a publicity campaign to increase the enrollments. We also have a strategy to promote the visibility of NHE which is being followed by our educational director. The authorization by the Ministry of Education, qualified teachers, and health authorizations were major achievements for the school and represent an opportunity to promote NHE on a much broader scale in Romania, an opportunity which must not be lost.

Expected Results:

• Successful attainment all of the necessary Health Authorizations
o this has been achieved

• Participation in roundtable exchanges of experience with other educational institutions (result of authorization)
• Partnerships with other authorized kindergartens and educational institutions

• Increased visibility of NHE in Romania

• By October 2010 – the kindergarten in MB to be a main income-generator for sustaining AMURTEL Romania


Project description: The Gradinita Rasarit Kindergarten is a Neohumanist Kindergarten that has been pioneering Neohumanist Education and the integration of special needs children since its inception in 1995.  We are in the last stages of securing government accreditation, but have reached an obstacle.  We need to obtain a fire safety authorization in order to complete the accreditation process. We have made many major investments this year, in fire-safe doors, in treating the roof with fire-retarding agents, and mounting a sprinkler system in order to meet the legal requirements. However, we have already had two inspections in which the inspectors found even more things that we must modify.  We must install another expensive monitoring system that controls the sprinkler system.  If we fail to do this, and are not able to obtain the fire authorization by the end of the summer, we risk to lose our current authorization from the Ministry of Education, because we will miss the deadline for applying for final accreditation. This could result in our kindergarten being closed down, or forced to downgrade to a daycare center, which would cause us to lose most of our parents.  The Ministry will not accept our accreditation application without the fire authorization. This would mean losing nine years of working to obtain the accreditation.  Our finances are already seriously strained by all of the extra investments that were needed in this period to obtain the fire-safety authorization. We request the 1000 euro grant to allow us to fulfill the demands of the fire department, so that the kindergarten can finalize its accreditaton. 

Project History:

The Gradinita Rasarit Kindergarten was founded in 1995 in order to provide a model of Neohumanist Education, as well as to integrate special needs children into a mainstream kindergarten alongside their typically developing peers. The kindergarten has flourished, improving quality and its infrastructure over the past 12 years.  It now has a long waiting list and is sought after, especially for its vegetarian diet, inclusive atmosphere and ecological approach. 

Project Mission:

To provide  a warm, inclusive environment that awakens a love of discovery, a desire to help others, ecological awareness as well as the spiritual and moral development of the child so that she will gain the skills needed for a happy, balanced life. 


I am very pleased to finally announce to you that we successfully obtained the fire authorization and are now in the process of finalising our documents to obtain the accreditation of the Bucharest NHE kindergarten, all thanks to the 1000 euro donation from Emanuele Antola Foundation. It was a very difficult and lengthly beaurocratic process with many obstacles, so it is a big relief to finally have the authorization. It was the biggest hurdle in being able to move foreward with the accreditation process. 

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