Partnership projects

In this section, we would like to present a selection of both our own and partnership projects that the Foundation has been implementing or providing with significant support over a long period.

Accenture Academy

Initial situation:

Chances of children growing up in children’s homes for successful participation in real life are not comparable with those of their peers. These children mostly achieve only a relatively low level of education. Moreover, for practical reasons, they are often sent to vocational schools near their children’s home. This means that their interests and expectations are not always fully taken into account. The period of adolescence is difficult for every young person. However, it is even more difficult and complicated for young people who spent their life in different institutions, who lack network of social relations, life experience and examples, and whose initial position is generally disadvantaged. Consequently, they face many difficulties. Children and young people come from the relatively safe environment of their children’s home, and real life situations pose something new to them. They have very distorted ideas about work, and they lack examples for their work habits. This unpreparedness often leads to failure and spins a vicious cycle of fluctuation, unemployment and dependence on the supporting social network. In the worst case, such a situation leads to violations of law and the beginning of the criminal career.

Project objective:

The Accenture Academy project aims to help children enter independent life and prepare for future employment. The target group includes children aged 15–19 years (possibly up to 26 years of age) who have been growing up in children’s homes and who are preparing to exit. The project offers them a wide range of ways to prepare for a new stage of life, and helps them with vocational guidance and orientation in this field. It is implemented in sixteen children’s homes – and currently helps 146 young people.

Adopce.com

Initial situation:

Adopce.com is a project of the Tereza Maxová Foundation, implemented with the support of non-profit organizations Spolu dětem o.p.s. and the Centre for Adoption and Foster Care. Since 2001, the project – not just the information web portal, but also the brochure and the telephone line – has helped those interested in alternative parenting, especially in adoption and foster care.

Project objective:

The primary objective of the project is to return as many children from institutional care back to the family environment, because the Czech Republic is still one of countries with the highest number of children in institutional care in proportion to its population. The project consists of three main parts: an information web portal (www.adopce.com), a telephone line with expert operators (+420 233 356 701) that can be used for anonymous calls, and printed brochures. The project is one of the most comprehensive sources of information specifically focusing on the issue of substitute family care in the Czech Republic.

Children’s Crisis Centre – the “Way from Hell” project

Initial situation:

This project has been implemented by the Children’s Crisis Centre (Dětské krizové centrum – DKC) over a long period. The Centre is a unique establishment offering both expert and medical assistance, helping mistreated, sexually abused and neglected children as well as children whose healthy development is otherwise endangered.

Project objective:

The aim of professional services offered by DKC is primarily to ensure the safety and protection of children from further attacks of physical, sexual or psychological violence; to continue to provide children and their families with emotional support; to help them stabilize their emotional condition and provide them with guidance in dealing with difficult situations; to support children and members of their families to develop abilities to actively deal with difficult situations and to develop their independence and competences to deal with long-term adverse situations; to minimize the degree of negative impact of adverse situations on children; and to maintain – if it is in the interest of the child – family ties, and to facilitate the inclusion of families back into society.

I’LL START IT UP! – A partnership project implemented in cooperation with ŠKODA AUTO, a.s.

Background:

Young people from children’s homes enter the labour market from a starting position that is much worse than that of their peers from the general population. In addition to the lack of education, they often don’t have sufficient information and opportunities to obtain stable employment and are, therefore, more at risk of social pathologies such as poverty and homelessness.

Project objective:

The objective of the I’LL START IT UP! project is to effectively motivate young people aged 11 to 15 years, placed in children’s homes, to obtain education and to grow, both personally and professionally. They are also provided with suitable conditions to improve their school grades, through regular tutoring and tailored motivation and support. Each child included in the project is assisted based on individual plans. These include both a psychologist’s or a mentor’s help and career counselling provided by trained educators. Thanks to this comprehensive and individual approach, the project aims to change the prevailing current tendencies displayed by young people with institutional history when choosing their profession. This is usually stereotyped (chef, waiter, hairdresser, etc.). It is also for this reason that the I’LL START IT UP! project allows a more diverse presentation of the labour market with the possibility to obtain direct experience.

The I’LL START IT UP! project has been joined by the Nymburk and Krnsko children’s homes from the Central Bohemian Region, the Holice and Vrchlabí children’s homes from the Hradec Králové Region, and the Polička children’s home from the Pardubice Region.

This partnership project of the Tereza Maxová Foundation and ŠKODA AUTO, a.s. is being implemented in collaboration with the Otevřená budoucnost (Open Future) organization. The project was launched at the end of 2013.

“Made by” - Financial literacy for mothers in shelters

Initial situation

Shelters for mothers with children play a significant role in the social services system. They are designed for women who are unable to deal with a difficult life situation on their own and need help from governmental or non-governmental institutions. Due to their life experiences, mothers placed in shelters are often very susceptible to various types of abuse of trust, and they need not only material, but professional and psychological support as well. Their situation is complicated by the fact that they responsible not only for themselves, but also for their children. Often they are women on maternity leave, or women after the breakup of a relationship, who because of their financial situation cannot secure housing. Often these women are victims of domestic violence. By staying in shelters, women with children have access to facilities and support and they do not have to be separated. This service also thus serves as prevention of the placing of children into children’s homes. The care should enable the clients to get a new start in life, it should “put them on their own two feet” and direct them in the socially correct direction. Thanks to the professional assistance of the shelters’ staff, this is often successful.

Project goal

A common problem of women in shelters is, among other things, a noticeable lack of funds or the fact they are in debt. For this reason, the aim of the project is individual work and improving the financial literacy of clients of two participating shelters, specifically Azylový dům pro ženy a matky s dětmi o. p. s. Vsetín (Shelter for Women and Mothers with Children in Vsetín) and Azylový dům pro matky s dětmi Osek (Shelter for Mothers with Children in Osek).

The tailor-made financial literacy program, which will take place for a period of 10 months in the above mentioned shelters, has two parts: theoretical and practical. The objective is then to help change the behavior of clients regarding personal finances and the possibility of securing a financial reserve. And last but not least, the project also aims to improve the women’s attitude towards getting a job.

Theoretical part of the project:
After the group of mothers is established, educational modules focused on financial literacy (topics of individual modules will include, for example, How to save money, Who is the consumer and how can she protect herself, Financial planning, Managing money, etc.) will take place at both shelters. The programs will be developed specifically according to the women’s current needs, and they will be adapted to the group composition and types of women. The aim is to work with at least 40 mothers per year.

Practical part of the project:
This part will take place in parallel with the theoretical part and will make it possible for the mothers to make various products, such as keychains, slippers and jewellery, which will be subsequently sold and the participating women will thus gain extra income.
At the same time, as a form of therapy, each of the mothers during their stay will produce one doll, for which it will prepare a “Birth Certificate.” The mothers will give their dolls names and provide them with their story.

The partner project of the Tereza Maxová Foundation and the Citi Foundation is implemented in cooperation with s o. s. Otevřená budoucnost. The project was launched in 2013.

Helen Doron Early English

Initial situation:

Language training is an essential part of preparing children for their future life. That’s why we launched a pilot programme “Teaching English in Children’s Homes Using Helen Doron Method” in 2011/2012. The project is implemented by the Tereza Maxová Foundation together with ANGLIČTINA pro DĚTI, s.r.o., a company holding a licence to use the Helen Doron Early English method in the Czech Republic. The course was joined by eleven children – five children from the Mladá Boleslav Chilren’s Home and six from the Vizovice Children’s Home. The course was carried out by trained HDEE instructors, Mrs. Gabriela Baláková and Ing. Helen Změlíková. Children were first acquainted with the method of teaching based on regular CD playback, and they had to get used to the fact that the teacher only speaks English in class. All children who completed the “Teaching English in Children’s Homes Using Helen Doron Method” programme passed the final tests.

Evaluation of the course by children

What I like most of all in the Helen Doron English course is games that we play in class, and that we don’t have to learn vocabulary and can speak English all the time. I don’t like listening to CDs, but I know that it helps me learn new things. Miroslav Hamala

I like English because we learn new things. I enjoy the games that we play. It’s better for me to listen to CDs than learn from the textbook. I also like pictures that our teacher brings to the classroom. Vladimír Kojetínský

I like Helen Doron English because we have a package of great books and because our teacher tries to make the lessons enjoyable. But for me it would be better if we learnt like at school – if we practised everything to have better grades. Nikol Valčíková

Supporting university students from children’s homes

Initial situation:

Young people leaving children’s homes fall in the social group most at risk of negative social phenomena. In comparison with their peers, their position on the starting line of productive life is significantly more difficult. This is caused by their limited experience with positive life experiences, reduced ability to express themselves and to assert themselves in the dialogue, etc. These children often have only a vague and distorted idea about the life “outside”. When studying and choosing their careers, they lack natural examples that others can find among their loved ones. Therefore, they often lack the motivation and perseverance needed to achieve their dream goals. Perhaps for these reasons, only 1.2% of children in institutional care achieve secondary school education with the school leaving certificate (diploma), and only 0.3% go on to university.

Objective of the support:

The long-term aim of the Foundation is to support the highest possible level of education and better opportunities for young people from children’s homes, guide them to a safe independent life, and compensate them for missed attention and opportunities they would have had if they had grown up in functional families. In 2012, 22 students were supported, with a total amount of CZK 414,779.

To dáš! (You Can Do It!) project supports disadvantaged people at the start of their career

Initial situation:

Compared to their peers, young people who grew up in a children's home do not have the same starting point when launching their new life and entering the labour market. These young people lack role models and experience, they have communication issues, and addressing even standard everyday situations may often require much more effort from them. All these handicaps make it more difficult to successfully find and maintain a new job, as these activities may involve entirely new and unknown situations. In many cases, even the job interview poses a great challenge. To dáš! (You Can Do It!) is a new project that helps them start a new life – it was established as part of the international strategy Youth Empowered, and brought to the Czech Republic by Coca-Cola HBC Česko a Slovensko in cooperation with the Tereza Maxová Foundation as its strategic partner. The To dáš! project aims to support self-confidence and self-esteem of young disadvantaged people by organising motivational workshops, boosting their knowledge and, in particular, providing the services of a recruitment agency specialised in disadvantaged applicants. Thanks to the To dáš! project they gain knowledge, skills, support, and also advice on how to succeed on the labour market.

Objective of the support:

The To dáš! project offers a comprehensive approach to preparing young disadvantaged people for their entry to the labour market. Besides workshops, the project also offers vocational assessment that helps them judge their skills and qualifications for the selected job. An important part of the project is procuring employment, implemented by means of a recruitment agency specialised in disadvantaged applicants. Its professional staff carefully select pre-screened candidates for suitable jobs (internships, part-time jobs or full-time jobs), connect them with the employers, and support them during the entire process of adaptation to the new corporate environment. For several months after the start of employment they facilitate the initial communication with the employer. Young people participating in the project may cooperate with experts, mentors, and instructors who will prepare them for a job interview and help them strengthen their work habits. Another important aspect of the project is the cooperation with employers who offer job vacancies. It is important to establish mutual trust as well as trust in oneself. To achieve this the professionals from Coca-Cola HBC organise workshops where the participants may define priorities for their future life and prepare for situations that may arise when searching for a new job or starting employment. The project targets not only at young people who are leaving the children's home but also vulnerable mothers in women's shelters.

Due to its comprehensive approach the To dáš! project requires expertise in many areas, and it is thus constantly adding new partners – such as HR or legal experts. Services associated with methodology and project management consultancy are provided by Accenture, one of the expert partners of the project. The joint goal of the cooperation is to connect all the dots necessary to successfully find and maintain a job. The legal partner providing free legal services and related expert consultancy is the Bříza & Trubač law firm.

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