Back in 2009, the chairman of RHIZA SURINAME joined as volunteer in the social/behavioral health care system. She joined ‘Project SIR’ (Steuntje in de Rug) for school children in the district of Commewijne. SIR was an initiative of SUCET (Suriname Center for Education and Training) and was financed by SKN (Stichting Kinderpostzegel Nederland).
This volunteer-work left a mark on her soul. She experienced firsthand the reality that children with learning disabilities were promoted in school to the next class even while their knowledge was not sufficient. They were only promoted to the next class due to their age and not due to their skills and knowledge. In the long run this results in children that are not able to keep up with the pace and material. When they reach the age of 15, many ending up as school-dropouts and often become involved with criminal activities, prostitution or other social problems.
To deal with these problems, and leave no child behind, something had to be done. The children have to be tested on education, behavior and social skills (and issues) – the root of why they don’t get along. Why are they lacking behind is the central question. When we have the results of these tests, a team of experts can provide help and advise on how to help the specific individual child.
With the current resources in Suriname this is not efficiently possible at the moment. It’s here where RHIZA SURINAME comes in. One of the big problems is that the only center of expertise is located in Paramaribo and not in the District of Commewijne. Resulting in long waiting lists and, due to financial constraints, cancellations of research projects. Moreover, the local government (Ministerie van Onderwijs en Volksontwikkeling) has a lack of capacity and finances as well.
The district of Commewijne comprises of 22 regular primary schools. According to the Inspection of Education, 461 of the toal of 3577 children in these schools are categorized as ‘child with learning disabilities / those that learn in a different way’ and should be taken in consideration to be tested.
The RHIZA SURINAME Foundation has a heart for, and makes it their mission to help children in need. It’s their goal to reach out and leave no child behind by building a network of specialized schools catered to the needs of these children as well as the realization of a general expertise center to further the cause.