Gulbenkian invests in the integration of Ukrainian children

As part of the initiative to support the Ukrainian Community, the Gulbenkian Foundation will fund projects promoting the integration of Ukrainian children up to the age of six through playgroups using the "ABC – Learn, Play, Grow" methodology

Considering the consequences of the war in Ukraine, which has led many Ukrainian families and children to seek refuge in Portugal, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has decided to support projects that promote the integration of children up to six years old who do not have the support of day care centres or kindergartens. The proposed integration process will be carried out using the “ABC – Learn, Play, Grow” (GABC) playgroups methodology.

This initiative is part of the emergency support of 1M€ announced by the Board of Trustees of the Gulbenkian Foundation last March, to mitigate the humanitarian crisis caused by the war. So far, the Foundation has already allocated 500,000 euros to support humanitarian organisations that help refugees in the border countries under the most pressure – namely Poland, such as the NGOs “Polish Humanitarian Action” and “Jesuit Refugee Service Poland”, and EPIM – European Programme for Integration and Migration – having also allocated 250,000 euros to Ukrainian associations in Portugal.

The GABCs are groups of five to 10 children and their caregivers who meet twice a week in different types of spaces – schools, libraries, public institutions and local charities, public spaces, markets, shops – to interact and play together. Each session is led by one or two monitors who, for about two hours, promote stimulating contexts of socialization and experimentation, through informal games and activities that encourage learning.

The experience of the last few years, in Portugal and in other European countries, shows that these sessions privilege interpersonal relationships and the creation of an empathic atmosphere of respect, cooperation and sharing, which facilitate social inclusion and promote the cognitive, emotional and social development of children. These sessions also promote the development of parenting skills and the employability of families.

Entities that wish to host the playgroups – public or private, non-profit organizations, legally recognized and active in the fields of Education or Social Action – may submit their application until April 20. The training of monitors for the implementation of the methodology will be promoted by several partners, including the Ministry of Education and the Bissaya Barreto Foundation.

Through this funding, which represents an investment of 250,000 euros, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation will ensure the operation of the GABCs until the end of September 2022, with the aim of reaching a total of 1,000 beneficiary children. After this date, the playgroups will be supported by the Social Security Institute (ISS-IP), which is also a partner of this project.

More info

About the GABC’s

The implementation of this methodology in Portugal resulted from a pilot project involving around 500 families in the districts of Porto, Aveiro, Coimbra, Lisbon and Setúbal, between October 2015 and November 2016, co-financed by the European Commission and coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Science, in partnership with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Bissaya Barreto Foundation, ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon, the University of Coimbra and the High Commission for Migration (ACM).

Updated on 11 april 2022

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