THE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME within the ´Help me start in life…´ project
This is a programme that aims to facilitate children and young people growing up in children´s homes with the preparation for their future careers and independent lives while strengthening their personal development.
The aim of the programme is to give as many children as we can the possibility to carry on with their desired studies so that they can achieve some qualifications and therefore increase their chances of being employable on the job market. It´s benefit also lies in the fact that the studies prolong the students´ stay in the children´s home, and thus leave more mature and ready for their independent life.
Though it may seem so, the Scholarship programme is not designed for exceptionally talented children. On the contrary, it is designed to help all children with making their desired choice as to the school or study field they want to follow. This programme is for children who have finished the primary level of education and who are awaiting selection for high school where they will continue with their studies. Even students of higher vocational, follow-up schools and universities may apply for enrollment in the programme.
With the help of sponsors most children´s homes are able to ensure for the children a carefree life in terms of material security.
In many cases, though, children's homes in general have difficulties to secure specific requirements of children related to their education and preparation for their future careers. The chance that a child completes the studies that he chooses himself and enjoys is much higher compared to being compelled to study a field the child is basically not interested in at all.
The Scholarship programme can pay the child´s:
• Tuition fee
• Accommodation in a boarding house or dorm
• School supplies and necessary equipment
• Scholarship of Merit
• Motivational scholarship
• Additional courses
• Rent in starter homes
Oftentimes it is impossible for a child to pursue a field of study that he would like to study as the chosen school is not situated near the children's home where the child lives or as the children´s home does not have the necessary funds to cover the travel and boarding costs. This applies to high schools and secondary vocational schools as well as colleges and universities or follow-up studies.
Some schools require special equipment or school supplies that the students must pay for from their own resources (textbooks, work clothing, special teaching aids, etc.). Those are at the same time the kind of costs that a children´s home is not able to cover from their budget.
Some talented children want to study at private schools, however without the help of sponsors it is impossible for the children´s home to cover the costs of the tuition fee.
Scholarship of Merit is a great motivation for all students. Each student is obliged to set a goal that he must reach during the given term in order to obtain the Scholarship of Merit. The scholarship amount is fixed at CZK 1,000 per school year term.
Upon reaching adulthood some children have a longing to leave the children’s home and to stand on to their own two feet although they have not yet finished their studies. It is common that after leaving the children’s home they do not get to finish their studies. When they realize that they had made a mistake it is already too late…
At this point Motivational Scholarship motivates children to finish their studies and thus stay in the children´s home until the end of their studies. The Scholarship is paid out after the successful accomplishment of the last study year. In the case of subsequent studies while the student is still staying in the children´s home, the scholarship may be paid out repeatedly! The scholarship is paid out as a lump-sum in the amout of CZK 5,000.
The majority of children´s homes allow to their adult wards to live in the so-called 'Starter homes' situated off the children´s home campus. We consider this as an excellent opportunity for preparing the child for an independent life with the ability to test the management of entrusted funds yet still under the supervision and protection of the children's home. Rent in starter homes, however, often represents for the children´s homes an intractable item in their budget.
Studying a field that a child chose himself greatly increases his chances to finish the studies. The chance to do what the child enjoys and what he does well will significantly strengthen his often very poor self-esteem. His chances of finding a job he will stay at increase. If a child gets the opportunity to realize his potential in a field of study that fulfills him it will considerably increase his chances to successfully integrate into society and succeed in his independent life.
We treat each child included in the Scholarship programme individually.
Children are enrolled in the Programme based on a selection procedure. Each student must fill in the application form, write a Letter of Motivation and hand in a Letter of Recommendation written by a children´s home representative. Upon the enrollment of a student into the Scholarship Programme a tripartity agreement on enrollement into the Scholarship Programme is concluded with the given children´s home as well as directly with the child so that he gradually starts to assume responsibility on his own. We discuss the acceptance of each minor to the Scholarship Programme with the director of the children’s home. After the child comes of age an agreement is reached with the child for his inclusion to the Scholarship Programme. In this way these children gradually begin to assume responsibility.
The project coordinator is in the e-mail and telephone contact with the children included in the Scholarship Programme throughout the whole school year. Twice a year (spring and autumn) we organize extended weekend meetings. During the weekends we offer the children various workshops and leisure activities, however the main goal of these meetings is to get to know each other and gain the trust of these children who used to be repeatedly disappointed by the adults from their very childhood. So far we have been successful in this and all the students know that they can contact us anytime for advice or help, or just to talk about what's new in their lives. The majority of them regularly make use of this option.