Equal chance for Education
The Equal Chance program is one of the activities of LARGO, an NGO, located in Kyustendil, aiming to help the most vulnerable members of society. Vasil Vasilev from the “Rayko Tsonchev” Private High School of Tourism and Entrepreneurship; Dobrich, Bulgaria tells its story.
The “Equal chance” program of the LARGO organisation – an NGO based in Kyustendil – aims to help the most vulnerable members of society – children, single parents, elderly, sick and poor people who have limited or no access to health, social and educational services and are threatened by marginalisation, alienation and pauperization. What makes LARGO different from all other organisations is the fact it is placed in the heart of the Roma neighbourhood, close to the community. So whenever someone needs help, they can easily reach to the workers in LARGO. The main projects and activities of the organisation are related to social work and healthcare.
“Equal chance” is a program of the NGO funded and supported by the Thrust for Social Achievement (TSA), a foundation located in Sofia. It aims to increase the motivation of disadvantaged Romani students, to study, by providing them the needed textbooks, materials, tips and help. In order to reach as many progressive students, TSA spreads the work to other local organisations around the country, as LARGO in Kyustendil.
Alongside its main mission goals, the organisation is also trying to reach ambitious young people from the community. LARGO does a lot of work to help young students continue their education and find opportunities for their present and future development. The young volunteers of the organisation are also included in many initiatives.
One of them is Ani Kovacheva, a tenth grader from the “Emanuil Ivanov” High School of Mathematics and Science in Kyustendil. “LARGO has a really active volunteer group, the volunteers are taking part in many of the organisation’s activities and they are even organisers of initiatives themselves. The program “Equal chance” is a great opportunity for everyone to taste the feeling of work and responsibility by helping their peers. So that is why we the volunteers of LARGO are engaged to help with the work of this particular program,” she shares about her motivation.
She also explains the process of how underprivileged students are granted scholarships. “We, the volunteers, help with all the work and with giving out the student’s books. But that is not all! The accepted students are required to have academic success and regular school attendance. Their grades and absences are reported by a member of the organisation at the end of the first term and the school year.’’
Talking about joining the organisation as part of the volunteers, you should meet two really simple criteria. Firstly, to be ready to take responsibilities and gratuitously work for helping the locals. LARGO relies on Roma community’s inner strengths and works actively to recruit and train motivated volunteers – school students, university students, young people and professionals. The organisation strives to apply and adapt the most successful and outstanding for social inclusion, education and employment integration global models. It also strives to multiply its experience and seek the support and cooperation of other Bulgaria civil organisations, with regional and global outreach, which share LARGO’s cause and values. When entering the organisation, as a worker, a trainee or a volunteer, one becomes part of a community.
The first results of the program become visible quickly and several underprivileged students quickly show exceptional motivation for success. “The ‘Equal chance’ program helped me learn my lessons better and write my homework more easily. This will be a huge plus in the future because I want to start a job in the profession that I’m studying now. All this is happening thanks to the LARGO organisation,” said Nikolay Asenov, one of the students who participated in the “Equal chance” initiative.
“Largo also gave me the opportunity to participate in an online training program in English. I improved a lot my level in English. This will multiply the possibilities for me to develop further, not only in Bulgaria, but also abroad. Also they helped me to develop other skills – communication, making more meaningful conversations, being more responsible and so on,” Nikolay adds.
The photos are provided from Ani Kovacheva (personal archieve) and fb.com/largo.face.