Organiser: Daydream Foundation (Fundación Soñar Despierto)

Collaborating organisation: Ramon Molinas Foundation.

Dates of implementation: 01/01/2020 – 31/12/2020.

 

Educar Sonrisas (Teaching Smiles), an initiative that provides educational and emotional support to young people in care

The Ramon Molinas Foundation is collaborating with the Daydream Foundation with the aim of supporting children and young people in the care of social services that come from dysfunctional and marginalised families and live in children’s homes, in residential centres, or use day centres. The cooperation between the two organisations will allow for the development of the Educar Sonrisas programme.

The Daydream Foundation’s initiative provides educational and emotional support to children and adolescents in care, working towards being able to guarantee each child the education to support their social and personal development. Educar Sonrisas helps children and young people to expand their learning, and improve their social skills and study habits with personalised support classes and extracurricular leisure activities.

 

A total of 576 children and adolescents will take part in the initiative throughout 2020

A total of 576 of young people between 8 and 18 will take part in the initiative throughout 2020. Of these, 450 come from 24 Residential Centres for Educational Action (Centros Residenciales de Acción Educativa – CRAE) and 126 from the 9 day centres (centros abiertos) across Catalonia. The staff at each of the centres identify the children and adolescents that would benefit from educational support and additional leisure activities, and the type of intervention that they require, and pass on this information to the Daydream Foundation.

The organisation, alongside the input of nearly 200 volunteers that act as mentors, develop each programme depending on the abilities, characteristics and needs of the participants, developing a schema of work designed by the centre’s education lead. The initiative seeks to take a preventative role, deterring children in care from leaving education and promoting equal opportunities for all young people.

 

In Catalonia, 7,400 young people are supported by state children’s care services (DGAIA)

In Catalonia, 7,400 children and adolescents live in care and in the custody of the Catalan Directorate-General of Children and Adolescent Services (DGAIA). Many have suffered from neglect or abuse, whose parents have been deemed unfit to care for them. In these cases, the DGAIA removes the children from their parents and places them in care, with the aim of looking after them while their families recuperate or until their parenting skills improve.

45.7% of children and adolescents that are under protection from the state are looked after by foster families, and the rest live in residential centres. Of those that live with families, 64% are looked after by members of the children’s extended family (where the children are put in the custody of a relative), 25% are looked after by a family unrelated to the child, and 11% are in preventative care. Of the rest of the children and young people in care, 54.3% live in residential centres, the majority in the Residential Centres for Educational Action (CRAE) across Catalonia (in 54% of cases) and 23% in children’s homes.

The child protection system in Catalonia aims to ensure that every child receives adequate care, and that their material, emotional, educational and social needs, and health and wellbeing are looked after. It also helps children and adolescents to fulfil their potential and hopes to empower them and strengthen their personal autonomy.

However, these challenging life circumstances have an effect on the academic performance of children in care. 80% don’t graduate from secondary school. Only 32% remain in education for the full 15 years, as opposed to 73.6% of the rest of schoolchildren, and the education gap widens as the children get older. Only 1 in 10 children in care complete a university course, while in the rest of children, that figure is 6 in 10.

 

The Daydream Foundation, an organisation that helps to support children and adolescents that come from dysfunctional families

The origins of the Daydream Foundation come from the Daydream Youth Association. Founded in 1998 in the Mexican city of Monterrey, the Daydream Youth Association was created in response to the extreme poverty and marginalisation suffered by the city’s children and young people. The Daydream Youth Association worked towards empowering children to aspire to a future filled with opportunities.

Two years later, a group of young people took inspiration from the Nuevo León organisation and came together to set up their own version in Barcelona. Under the name Daydream Foundation, the organisation’s mission was to support children and young people from underprivileged areas and from dysfunctional families with programmes and projects dedicated to supporting their education and labour integration.

 

Links of interest:

Daydream Foundation website.