DSC01606On 20th November people all over the world celebrate Universal Children’s Day. Today marks the  55th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Rights of the Child and the 25th anniversary of the enacting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Therefore, the European Foundation of Human Rights wants to draw attention to projects and initiatives aimed at children.

The Foundation’s work is to supervise abiding and respecting the rights of children and to educate children and parents/carers about the law. The activities in this field cover inspections and meetings in schools, orphanages and institutions of social care during which EFHR representatives are spending their time with children observing their living conditions, encouraging discussion, play, organize parties, work on solving problems concerning teaching (including improving the native language – Polish). Orphanages under the EFHR protection are pedagogical centers  where about 30-40 children from 3 to 18 years live.

EFHR protects the rights of children and aims to help abolish the orphanage stigma, so that the children can use the support offered effectively and protect their rights themselves. To do this, one needs to be a self-assured person conscious of one’s dignity. This is why the European Foundation of Human Rights is working once again on the “Clinical psychologist in Polish in an orphanage” project.

The national system of the care in orphanages states that the country is responsible for fulfilling the basic needs of the children living there. Unfortunately, the present-day system does not pay much attention to the children’s psychological needs, their development, shaping social behaviors and communication skills, acquiring new psychological abilities or psychological therapy for those with emotional problems or trauma. Those are the needs which have to be fulfilled for one to become a respected citizen who is able to take responsibility for his/her life and to function outside of a social care institution.

On September 2014 the EFHR started to continue the “Clinical psychologist in Polish in an orphanage” project. As a part of that, in cooperation with Jolanta Masian, a psychologist, EFHR provides the children and the staff of the orphanages with psychological help and psych education in the Polish language. Children living in orphanages often experience some traumatic events, with some having emotional, psychological, physical and intellectual disorders. Most of them require intensive and long-term therapy. Orphanage workers are a group at high risk of job burnout, as their work involves huge responsibilities, it is physically and mentally exhausting and it requires wide psychological knowledge and specific qualities. However, the salary is low, the job does not garner as much credit as it deserves, there is no psychological support and access to psych education is limited. That is why the goal of this project is to provide children and the people working in orphanages with psychological help and support. At the turn of 2013 EFHR organized a series of lectures for educators working in orphanages.

The goal of this year is to offer: mental support, psych education and supporting the development of social interactions, communication skills and mental abilities of the children.

The classes are being held in orphanages in Podbrodzie and Soleczniki until December 2014.