Mobile School Stolipinovo

Starting in the early 2010s, access to quality education for all has been at the heart of ATD Fourth World’s priorities. In this series, you will learn about the work done by ATD Fourth World teams in the field of education, including early childhood education.

In the months ahead, this website will feature regular publications featuring ATD’s educational achievements. These accounts tell the story of ATD Fourth World initiatives and their collaborations with children, families, and communities.

We will explore teams dedicated to supporting specific aspects of children’s lives and development. One team aims to reinforce family ties, another assists with children’s schooling and academic success, while another contributes to the cultural enrichment of neighbourhood children…

Each of these narratives threads together to form a vibrant framework for a society that can offer quality education for all — including children in poverty.

This month we follow Véronique and Benoît Reboul-Salze, two ATD Fourth World Volunteer Corps members as they work alongside friends, partners and the people of Stolipinovo, a neighbourhood of Plovdiv, Bulgaria to create the “Mobile School Stolipinovo”. Most of the residents of Stolipinovo have lived experience of poverty and isolation. Their children are often not enrolled in school.

In this context, the team of Véronique, Benoît and their partners started a knowledge-sharing initiative, in the street, named the Mobile School Stolipinovo.

With their patient work of meeting the residents of Stolipinovo and learning about them and from them, the team discovered a wealth of local knowledge and skills. This all became a source of great pride for the children, their parents and their neighbourhood of Stolipinovo. Based on what the team discovered, they designed learning and creative activities for the children of Stolipinovo through the Mobile School Stolipinovo, activities were, architectural workshops, artistic creations, discovering books and sports. These activities allowed the children, and the entire community, to practice their skills, acquire knowledge and express themselves.

The art of partnership: working together, learning together

One of the major successes of the team, thanks to the Mobile School Stolipinovo, was bringing the local schools and the residents of Stolipinovo closer together. This was achieved when teachers from the nearest primary school came to co-facilitate workshops in the neighbourhood once a week.

The story published this month tells how the team of the Mobile School Stolipinovo managed to gradually build an inclusive educational community for the benefit of the children. A community in which all stakeholders (families, team members, teachers, artisans) work together and share knowledge to achieve a common objective: to create an environment where children with lived experience of poverty and exclusion can learn and experiment.

The Mobile School Stolipinovo is the fruit of Véronique and Benoît’s art of building partnerships. Starting with their first few visits to Bulgaria, they “followed in [the] footsteps” of those already working to overcome poverty in the country. They joined them in their work, learning from them. Their goal was moving forward with them, working as a team. As time passes, we see their work mature and learn about their keys to success.

Read Véronique and Benoît’s article on the Mobile School Stolipinovo.

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