NASO participated in EASPD international conference in Moldova
On April 21 and 22, 2016 representatives of National Alliance for Social Responsibility (NASO) and NASO members attended international conference “Growing together: from grassroots initiatives to national strategies in early-childhood intervention” in Moldova. The conference was organized by EASPD in cooperation with the Alliance of Organisations for People with Disabilities from Moldova (AOPD) and with the support of EurlyAid and Zero Project. By bringing together various stakeholders in the ECI field, the conference took a critical look at the development of national strategies needed to set up quality community-based ECI services both in Western and Central and Eastern European countries while focusing on the exchange of know-how and best practices in the field. Over 200 delegates shared their views on the situation of Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services in Europe. In addition, the Zero Project Analysis research was officially launched presenting 8 innovative practices on ECI services. During the conference NASO presented good practice from the work of Alternative 55 Association – NASO representation for the district of Stara Zagora, which EASPD approved and ranked to be presented.
ECI programmes and services are designed to support young children who are at risk or have been identified as having development delays and their families. Given the importance of this period of life for any human, it is vital to ensure access to interventions that can support children in reaching their full potential. If this is not the case, children and their families are often confronted to lifetime consequences such as physical and psychological issues, as well as poverty, exclusion, stigma, discrimination and institutionalisation.
Speaking at the welcoming panel, Mr Franz Wolfmayr, EASPD President, stressed the importance to support children and their families from the very early stage. He also reminded that ECI services can make a significant contribution to achieving an inclusive growth in Europe, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy.
Ms Virginia Rusnac of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Moldova acknowledged the importance of ECI as a pre-condition for inclusion. She mentioned the new 2013 regulation on the right to education for every child as a subsequent necessary milestone for children rights policy framework. According to the ministry over 9.000 children with special needs in Moldova have been included in the general education system.
Ms Ana Serrano of EurlyAid pointed out that “families should be at the heart of ECI services and should be the basis for a true start”. This statement was reaffirmed by Ms Silvia Apostol of the Swedish Organisation for Individual Relief. She stressed that “ECI services should aim at empowering the families by working in partnership and ensuring the quality of lives of individuals in our societies”. Ms Parascovia Munteanu of AOPD stressed that “ECI is about children being children, not patients”. Keynote speaker Ms Emily-Vargas Baron of Rise Institute highlighted the need for a well trained workforce in ECI services.
During the conference there was a common agreement that the quality of ECI depends on several aspects such as applying a holistic approach, starting in an early stage, having families at the steering wheel, establishing cooperation inside (interdisciplinary) and outside (networking with other stakeholders such as schools); ensuring a continuity and the qualification of professionals.