Hesed / Fakulteta Community Center

Hesed Foundation
The Model for Integrated Develoment (MIR). A comprehensive, integrated approach that addresses both individual and community development to integrate Roma people.
What solution does the innovation propose?

A social organisation that breaks the cycle of poverty and puts vulnerable groups on a positive path of development, establishing a new type of social infrastructure that is located directly in the isolated community. Thus users have easy access to the programs for development.

Impact evidence

  • They measured the effectiveness of the preschool educational program with a control group and found that the children in the program improve their academic results five fold, compared to children in the community without access to programs for early childhood education and development.
  • This success is also largely due to involving the parents who as part of the program learn how to assist their children in their educational paths before first grade and after. The noticeable progress of the children prompted their parents to begin to imagine a very different future for them.
How does it work?

Hesed works with a multi-ethnic and multidisciplinary team of psychologists, social workers, teachers, medical staff and community assistants in the Roma community. The Model for Integrated Development (MIR) offers a set of integrated services which tries to solve the problem of Roma integration. It addresses two critical periods in personal development and simultaneously gives a solution to two main problems: education and employment. The program for children and parents ensures successful integration in education, while the development of social skills among teenagers improves their participation in the labour market. MIR complements the Roma integration measures currently implemented by state institutions (compulsory education, all-day school, qualification courses, etc.). MIR services target the key areas of development and comply with professional standards and state educational requirements:
- Educational support to children aged 4-5 and development of the parenting skills of their parents.
- Training of pregnant women and parents of children aged 0-3 to increase their parental capacity.
- Training of youths aged 12-18 to develop their life and social skills.
- Career guidance for youths aged 12-18 and basic entrepreneurship training.
- Community mobilisation for supportive social environment through peer leadership training, fieldwork by outreach workers from the Roma community and campaigning.

Geographical scope

Where was initially developed
Sofia, Bulgaria
Where has been implemented so far