Supporting children with special needs in Moldova during COVID-19

To support Moldova’s efforts to keep students learning during the pandemic, GPE provided a US$70,000 grant through UNICEF to support the country's COVID-19 response. The funds have been used to provide learning materials and sports equipment to the most disadvantaged students, particularly those with special needs who are more likely to experience challenges with online learning.

July 21, 2020 by Alexandra Solano Rocha, Global Partnership for Education, and Liudmila Lefter, UNICEF Moldova
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3 minutes read
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UNICEF purchased a batch of educational materials and sports equipment, with a total value of over $70,000 to be made available to preschoolers and primary school children. One of these sets reached 6-year-old Adelina in Nisporeni.
UNICEF purchased a batch of educational materials and sports equipment, with a total value of over $70,000 to be made available to preschoolers and primary school children. One of these sets reached 6-year-old Adelina in Nisporeni.
Credit: UNICEF Moldova

Adelina is a six-year-old girl from Nisporeni district in the central part of Moldova. She is playful, curious and likes to discover new things. She is also very fond of puzzles.

Three years ago, her parents noticed some marked differences in their daughter. She found the presence of other children in school uncomfortable and seemed to prefer working alone instead. Loud noises bothered her to the point that she covered her ears to drown them out.

During the same period, her parents noticed that she was able to perform complex tasks in record time.

We noticed that Adelina could do a puzzle in a few seconds. The first she assembled was a 36-piece one, and we couldn’t understand how she did it. My husband and I tried and failed to solve it in such a short time. But she did it.

Adelina’s mother, Ina

Funds allocated rapidly to help countries support their COVID-19 response

Adelina was eventually diagnosed with autism. For the last two years, she has been able to continue learning in kindergarten with the support of her parents and psycho-pedagogical assistance service.

Unfortunately, Adelina’s school, like many other schools in Moldova, has been closed for the last four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to support the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research keep students learning during this period, GPE provided Moldova with a grant of US$70,000, with UNICEF as the implementing grant agent, in late March, at the very beginning of the crisis.

The objective of the grant was to support the Ministry in its COVID-19 response and help coordinate with donors and development partners. Moldova used the GPE funds to provide learning material and sports equipment to 500 of the most disadvantaged students, particularly students with special needs like Adelina who are more likely to experience challenges with online learning.

With the support of UNICEF as coordinating agency and in coordination with development partners, the country is now working on finalizing its COVID-19 response plan. This plan will set out a pathway to enable learning to continue and will develop measures so the education system can recover from school closures.

They are [learning packages] very helpful for children because parents don’t always have the opportunity to purchase such high-quality educational materials.

Olga Drumea, head of the psycho-pedagogical assistance service in Nisporeni

Helping parents support learning at home

So far, the funds from GPE and UNICEF have procured 105 computers and distributed 510 learning material packages for children in kindergarten and primary school, distributed through psycho-pedagogical assistance services.

The packages include learning material such as coloring paper, watercolors and brushes, drawing books, notebooks with exercises, story books, toys, and social games like puzzles and Legos.

UNICEF has provided complementary funding to the ministry for teacher training and to support teachers with organizing digital skills for distance online education.

Many parents cannot afford the necessary learning support at home to help their children learn. With the distribution of the material, parents can use these educational kits to work with their children, thus continuing their children’s learning experience while schools are closed and special support services are restricted.

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Europe and Central Asia: Moldova

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Comments

This is a good initiative by GPE to provide funds for the most marginalized and vulnerable school going children with disabilities. i must say people in moldova are lucky enough.
Unlike here in uganda since the out break of the pandemic things has been worse for persons with disabilities and this especially children with disabilities who at most benefited being at school. schools provided food and also acted as a rehabilitation for this children. but to a sad note 5 month now and the government have not made covid related services inclusive. education materials are not inclusive, online TV learnings are not inclusive and even the coverage.
If funds were directly given to DPOs to draw strategies of how to help CWDs i think they would have solved the gap that the government has in response to covid and education

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