In mid October, CEPR Senior Scientist Helmut P. Gaisbauer spent his first field research week in Dumbrăveni/Romania. There he aims to shed light on the obstacles and possibilities as well as effectiveness of a social project that supports children of poverty-stricken families in their regular access to education. This project called A.C.E.S. offers after-school care to a small number of about 20 children mostly with a Roma background living in a slum-like neighborhood at the outskirts of Dumbrăveni. The most important feature of A.C.E.S. is the long-term commitment of funds for at least 8 years to really make a difference.
The VALUE-DUMBRAVENI research project supports this initiative by providing insights into the obstacles and chances of reducing poverty amongst the target population, i.e. mainly in strengthening children through support and enhancing their educational efforts.
In recent years, CEPR contributed extensively to the discourse on child poverty and severe, absolute forms of poverty in affluent societies which are intersecting in this case. This way, CEPR generated insights in particular forms of poverty that can be framed with the concept of fundamental poverty. Fundamental poverty is a form of poverty that coins the whole of a human existence. Child poverty shapes the very identity of and the manner how the children interact with the world in a long-lasting way. Absolute poverty is severe poverty that denies basic human needs. These forms of poverty are “fundamental” because they shape the basic code of a life in a long-lasting manner, influencing daily routines, basic opportunities and fundamental decisions.
In his recent fieldwork, Helmut did a series of interviews with supported children, with the project’s staff and with representatives of the local schools in order to understand what factors influence school attendance, how the educational systems’ efforts to support children with special needs and marginalized children work, to learn about the children’s backgrounds and performance and how the children experience A.C.E.S. The next field trip is planned for end of March 2018.