In Galați county, 40 secondary school and high school students are beneficiaries of the Future Acceleration Program scholarship. These are children raised by single parents, grandparents or with families with many children, with insufficient financial resources. In villages like Buciumeni and Pechea, where some of these children live, parents barely find a job and feel compelled to go work abroad. The children and their parents do, however, believe in the power of education, and invest as much as possible to guide the children towards continuing their studies in high school and in college. “Education is the key stone of change”, says Anna Burtea, director of Inimă de Copil Foundation, an organization with a 24-year experience in working with children, families, and communities from Galați. “I believe it all comes down to chance, which is what we and our partners want to provide to all the children in the long term”, said Anna Burtea.
“The tutoring helps with school, because teachers now have more time to explain”, says M., 13 years old, who lives in Buciumeni. She wants to become a teacher, because she enjoys learning...
“UiPath Foundation changes destinies”, says Alina Melinte, principal of “Smaranda Brăescu” School from Buciumeni village. Mrs. Melinte, who is a primary teacher, says it was easy to find...
Anna Burtea is the director of Inimă de Copil Foundation, our strategic partner in Galați, who supports 250 children from vulnerable backgrounds, either through the day care centers where they...
“The tutoring helps with school, because teachers now have more time to explain”, says M., 13 years old, who lives in Buciumeni. She wants to become a teacher, because she enjoys learning Romanian and Mathematics in equal measure, so she is still undecided which she should specialize in. She loves cats (has 5), drawing, listening to Irina Rimes’s music and watching family movies.
She has two brothers and during the first two months of the pandemic, all three used their mother’s phone to attend school classes. The situation improved after she received the tablet from us. Her mother even refused a second tablet from school and suggested to the principal to give it to another family who needed it more. Her mother strongly believes in the power of education and so she is also a member of the School Board and helps out to the best of her abilities: she bakes cookies for school reunions because she is passionate about baking. Her husband works as a ranger.
She says her daughter is a good learner and she always pushes her to read more and learn logically, not by heart. During the tutoring, teachers ask her questions, and she has to write everything down, which makes her very happy: “I insist on her reading, because it develops her imagination, I know she can do it”.
I., 14 years of age, lives in Buciumeni, a village near Galați of approximately 2.000 habitants, with his mother and brother. He is a calm child, whose voice is very warm. He became quickly accustomed to the online tutoring, which he found more interactive and easier to follow than normal classes, and he loves English and playing on the computer.
His mother is looking after a household with many domestic animals, and their father has been working abroad in construction for two years. Both I. and his mother would like him to attend a good high school in Galați. The woman admits that the tutoring have been very helpful for the boy as she does not have the resources to provide for additional support other than school. She is content and proud of her children, who get along well: “they always share whatever they have”.
Before the Future Acceleration Program, M. was constantly afraid to answer in class. “I became more vocal in school. I always speak during the tutoring and this gave me courage”. M. is 12 and lives in Pechea village and was enrolled in the program almost two years ago along with C., her classmate and friend since kindergarten. The girls say they enjoy the lessons on Romanian language so much that they feel they end too fast. M. loves to write and take photos with her phone and she wants to become a journalist. To her, courage means being able to convey her opinion before anyone, without fear, and sharing her feelings with others.
She lives with her parents, grandmother and older sister. The parents look after their own household or take various jobs by the day in the village.
Since the girls were little, their mother was always careful not to allow them to watch TV or to stay on the phone too much and she thinks this had a major impact on them. “You’d better go read a book, this is how everybody studies”, she recalls telling the girls. She observed that M. became more confident in school since receiving her scholarship, including in Mathematics, a subject she is not particularly fond of. “The grades are also quite good. Her average was 9.50”, said the mother.
C., 13 years, has made a lot of friends in our camp in the fall of 2019 with whom she kept in touch since on Instagram and Facebook – children from Tecuci, Galați and Bucharest. “I used to be seclusive, I wouldn’t speak to others, I would only talk to M. because we know each other from kindergarten”, says C., who likes making jokes and making her teachers laugh. “It was good for me to make so many friends and now I am friendly even with the teachers”. Her dream since she was 5 is to become a police officer and her mother encourages her. “Mother is very patient, she talks to us a lot, she asks me if I want to be a simple person, to work by the day, or someone great with a career”, says C. “I said I want to be myself and to be great”. Her father worked abroad, but came back because of the pandemic and her mother divides her time between household and child care. She knows that the scholarship and the tutoring make C. very happy, because she always tells her that she meets wonderful people there. “She is ambitious”, says the mother, “she always tells me that she will never let me down, and not to worry, and that her grades have improved”. “Good job, congratulations”, she replies, “it is not for me, you are doing this for yourself”.
His twin brother is also enrolled in the Future Acceleration Program. It meant a lot for their parents that both their children were enrolled and that they both received a scholarship. Expenses increase as children grow, and their father says he was able lately to not collect more debt. He works as a machine man in the Sidex steel plant, and his wife is a shop assistant. “Expenses for grocery alone go up to 1.000 Ron per month. I must provide it no matter what, the children cannot know that we don’t have money”. The father is also happy that both his boys “are now more relaxed, more diligent, and more on time”.
D., V.’s friend, started high school where he specializes in Mathematics and Informatics, and the tutoring have been very helpful. He was uncertain whether he would be admitted for this specialization in high school when he submitted his preferences, but he nevertheless bravely tried. For D., courage means “making a step forward when you want something, being able to say, ”I want that”. He is passionate about everything related to computers, particularly building video games. His dream is to work in IT, and his father, with whom he lives, encourages him and hopes that he can make it. M., 67, is now retired after working as an electrician. The scholarship and the tutoring came in very handy, considering that they only live out of the father’s pension.
“UiPath Foundation changes destinies”, says Alina Melinte, principal of “Smaranda Brăescu” School from Buciumeni village. Mrs. Melinte, who is a primary teacher, says it was easy to find motivated students to get enrolled in our program. After almost two years in the Future Acceleration Program, the children’s grades improved from 7-8 to 10 now, according to the principal. “All the children in our school want to be enrolled in the program. Changing destinies is not a small thing”.
Mrs. Melinte is happy that one of the mothers of the children who receive scholarships became more involved in the school community and is also a member of the school board. “She loves the school and loves to do everything she can for her children”. When the principal offered this mother a tablet because she has three children in school, the woman refused and said that they should give the tablet to a family who needed it more, because her daughter, also enrolled in the program, had already received a tablet from the Foundation, and her other two children use the phone.
Mrs. Melinte is contempt of how the teachers coped with the online school in 2020. The principal now aspires to ambitious post-pandemic plans that would bring more resources in school and create extracurricular activities: free trips for students using the school bus, development of the sports field and of the chemistry and biology laboratories.
Anna Burtea is the director of Inimă de Copil Foundation, our strategic partner in Galați, who supports 250 children from vulnerable backgrounds, either through the day care centers where they are helped with their homework, or through scholarships and other material resources. Of them, 40 secondary school and high school students from Buciumeni and Pechea villages and Galați receive support through the Future Acceleration Program. Anna, who is a medical doctor by profession and a civic activist with a 24-year experience, founded the foundation in the ‘90s, together with some friends, to provide grassroots welfare services.
She believes that “education is the key stone of change” and she knows that a high-impact intervention should focus on the long term and should provide support not only to children, but also to families, schools, communities. “Children have emotional needs, they need psychological support, remedial education. They are left behind compared to their colleagues and, particularly in the rural area, they may never recover. I think it all comes down to chance, which is what we and our partners want to offer on the long term to all children”, she said.
Anna believes that “each tutoring attended, each volunteer met, each camp each online meeting or tablet received is an invitation to school, and each account for a huge opportunity for these children and may be their chance to have a different life”.
Mădălina says that the major challenge of 2020 was to keep the children motivated in school considering that the teachers found it difficult to handle the online classes. The younger children did not have phones or tablets, and the parents were going through financial problems after many lost their jobs paid by the day they used to take with their neighbors. So, the masks, disinfectants, food packages and the tablets for children did make a difference. “We changed the emotional and mental impact of the pandemic by supporting them with calls, asking about their state, whether they were able to secure the daily needs of the family”, says Mădălina Lescai. “They knew they were not alone, that someone checked on them and they had someone to turn to for advice”.
Olimpia Tudor, social worker, makes sure that all children attend the online lessons. She says that parents are very happy with the additional training their children get, which they could have never afforded to provide. “The older students, who are now in the 9th grade, have clearly seen the advantage of taking tutoring. There is no need to tell them to go online, they do it themselves, they are very responsible”. The online lessons have been very helpful, she says, and as proof stand the good school results and the fact that the children overcame any problems created by the pandemic.
You have reached the end of our activity report for 2020.
With every story of courage discovered in the report – of the children in our educational programs, of our strategic partners, of mentors and volunteers and of our team, we have tried to convey our message about COURAGE - that was and will be a source of energy for the future! Thank you for going through the entire collection of stories about the programs and initiatives that try to generate a long term change. We, at the UiPath Foundation, will continue to be present in the lives of the children we support, to help them discover and make best use of their potential, and to ensure that every child or teacher has access to quality learning to be able to dream for a better future. We invite you and stay close to us and to the incredible stories about courage from our communities. To learn more about us and our initiatives, you can follow us here: