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First graders will receive backpacks and other school supplies, Source: Department of Social Services of Pilsen Municipality

Pilsen provides children in need with school equipment

Pilsen provides children in need with school equipment

The Czech city aims to protect first graders and ensure that they are not bullied on account of their financial means

The “back to school” season is exciting for so many children all over the world. Before the first day of classes, families visit shopping centres together to browse through stores and look for new school equipment. That is, they buy new backpacks, lunch boxes, and colourful stationery, preparing pupils for the year ahead. While this is undoubtedly exciting for many children, it is not so for all.

Those who come from less fortunate families view the “back to school” season as stressful and disheartening. Understanding that not everyone has the same opportunities, the City of Pilsen is now helping 200 first graders from around 150 families before the start of the academic year on 1 September.

Contributing to a just and equal society

The social services department of the Czech city has spent CZK 270,000 (EUR 10,557) on backpacks, lunch boxes, pencil cases, watercolours, notebooks, etc. It will now distribute these items to hundreds of children in need of school equipment. All of this gear typically costs approximately CZK 3,000 (EUR 117): a sum that many families cannot afford, especially considering the COVID crisis.

Deputy Mayor Eliška Bartáková commented on the need to support young children, noting: “We want to provide children from families who are in economic need with quality equipment similar to that of their peers. Thanks to our help, they will not be stigmatised at school from the very beginning just because they are not as well equipped as their classmates.”

In other words, this initiative not only helps support families but also ensures that pupils are not subjected to bullying and discrimination on account of their financial means. While the City of Pilsen mainly equips first graders with the aforementioned items, parents of higher-class pupils can still ask for assistance. For instance, they can ask for geometric sets, compasses, calculators, and other equipment that students had not previously needed.

It is important to highlight that the City of Pilsen has been implementing this initiative for nearly ten years. What is more, it was the first city in Czechia to come up with such a direct assistance project.  

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