Early childhood education for Roma children in Albania

We promote early childhood education for disadvantaged Roma and non-Roma girls and boys in Albania and help them enter primary school.

Our project allows us to support the integration of Roma children in public nursery schools in Albania. Nursery-school teachers are trained in integrative and playful approaches to teaching, enabling them to nurture and support all children in the best possible way. Furthermore, nursery schools are equipped with learning and teaching materials. This helps to better prepare disadvantaged Roma and non-Roma girls and boys for school.

The project also comprises education programmes for parents that raise Roma parents’ awareness of the importance of topics like health, education, nutrition and protection, especially in early childhood. Parents are also encouraged by means of interactive children’s book reading clubs to spend valuable time with their children and improve their reading skills (their own and their children’s) at the same time.

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56% of all Roma children in Albania do not attend nursery school.

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70% of Roma families in Durres live below the poverty line.

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49% of Roma over the age of six in Elbasan and Fier are illiterate.

Roma settlement in Driza, Fier (Albanien).

The situation of Roma in Albania

Access to education is difficult for children in Albania. In particular, children of ethnic minorities like Roma and Balkan Egyptians are often subject to discrimination and are disadvantaged in their access to education.

Research has shown that early childhood education is especially important for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. High-quality early childhood education can ensure that disadvantaged children are significantly better prepared for school. This helps to decrease unequal educational opportunities at the start of school.

Our project on early childhood education for Roma children in Albania also has a part to play here. By way of collaborating with public nursery schools, primary schools, parents and authorities, we create an environment that fosters the development of Roma children in their early childhood and prepares them for a successful start to school. Thanks to an improved dialogue between all stakeholders, discrimination is reduced, barriers are dismantled, and mutual understanding is promoted. Elements of the Roma language and culture have also been integrated into nursery school tuition in recognition of the Roma culture.

In the past, I never dared to look others in the eye. I thought I was worthless, because I couldn’t read and write. Now I’m overjoyed to be able to show my daughter that even a woman can make it!

A Roma mother Mediator in our project

Project results

Save the Children has implemented this project at eight different nursery schools in Elbasan, Durres and Fier. We have been working in Fier and Elbasan since 2016 and in Durres since 2019.
  • To date, 468 Roma children have been able to attend public nursery schools thanks to the project.
  • The proportion of Roma children who score well in school entrance exams has quadrupled since the project started.
  • All Roma children who visited the supported nursery schools successfully entered primary education.
  • 633 Roma parents have been reached by parent education courses in Fier and Elbasan so far.
  • 85% of Roma parents have improved their parenting skills thanks to our parent education courses.

I’m so happy to be able to read books to my daughter!

Roma Mother Participant in our interactive children’s book reading clubs

Information event on children’s health for Roma parents.

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