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Learning Centers Network - Balkan Sunflowers Project

Primary School Drop-Out Rates fall 80%

Since the opening of the Balkan Sunflowers Learning Center in Fushe Kosova in April 2008, the number of children from the communities we serve quitting school– during primary school! – has fallen from 120 for the 2007-2008 school year to 14 during the 2009-2010 school year. While this is most dramatic in Fushe Kosova, as this is BSF’s largest center, a similar story is also true in the other Learning Center towns: Gracanica, Plemetina and Shtime.

This is not all.

Enrollments are up. When BSF started the education program in the village of Gracanica, there were 25 Roma children in the primary school. Now there are 85. In Fushe Kosova, increasing enrollments and plummeting early leaving rates mean that primary school enrollment of Ashkali and Egyptian minority children has increased from around 350 to almost 600. The old dropout rate was 120 from 350. The most recent rate is 14 from almost 600.

This is not all.

Children are more confident. They go to school with completed homework. They tell their parents proudly that their homework was correct. They raise their hands in class. They volunteer to go to the blackboard.

This is not all.

More minority children in our communities are registered for preschool earlier than in previous years. This is due to parents understanding better the value of preschool and to BSF efforts to ensure children are enrolled.

This is not all.

Fifty youth in the four LCN towns volunteer 2 to 3 hours per day, day after day and week after week, as tutors to help the younger children learn and succeed in school. In the process, the youth learn and succeed in school and in their lives. They develop self-esteem, a powerful sense of belonging, a realization that they can accomplish something, and heart-felt satisfaction in the younger children’s development, which they are so much a part of. They receive school books and materials, a small stipend, some fun activities, and a lot of training. They are also improving their own school work and becoming more motivated as well. These youth are role models for children, their peers, and the community – which is expecting a lot from them. There are now 6 youth from our staff in university. Minority youth attendance in Fushe Kosova secondary school has also jumped, from 7 a few years ago to 54 now – and it is increasing.

This is not all.

The Learning Centers serve more than 100,000 hot meals to children annually. Children receive hundreds of school books. Between 450-500 children come daily to the Centers for preschool, language club, homework help, enjoyment and support, lunch, school materials.

This is not all. Please browse this website.