In a continuing attempt to understand more about local initiatives helping the marginalized in Romania, this morning I got to visit “The Ruth School.”
The Ruth School reaches out mainly to Roma children who face barriers at public school including fees and discrimination. The school has a wonderful approach that takes it’s neighborhood’s needs seriously. The paid staff at the school is all Romanian – teachers, cooks, administration, etc., and their work is supplemented by volunteers.
On my visit I saw the ways that routines such as teeth brushing, hand washing, and eating a nutritious lunch aid education. The staff also considers the children’s health, eyesight, warmth, and other holistic concerns while educating them.
While the staff and I were walking down the hallway during a break time, all the kids were washing their hands.
Imagine about 40 little kids in a hallway, all grinning and sudsy… blowing big bubbles from the watery mixture they conserved in their palms. Poți? I take a wet high five from a third grader and try blowing a bubble myself.
The feel of the place was all about positive reinforcement; it reminded me of when I was little. My mom used to cup my hands in hers and say “Wow, your hands smell so great! You must have washed them!” The kids were all confident in smiles and soap.
The security guard at the door was all jokes. I was told,
“We didn’t pick him: he was assigned here. He wanted to quit after the first year, but it’s been three years now, so I guess not we’ll keep him.”
Here’s a picture of this softie, helping a student with homework:
You can see more of these cuties on the Ruth School’s instagram (which is where I stole all the pictures for this post).