The JOYO Foundation – Social –Educational Support for Children, Youth and Families in Difficulty was created in 2002 by Rita and Jorg Ebbecke, in the remembrance of their dear son, JOYO, dead in tragic circumstances. Their wish was to offer a chance for a better future to children coming from families confronting with severe social problems, thus completing the role of active supporters, their very poor parents and grandparents cannot entirely assume.

Starting with the observation that it is much easier and effective to prevent, than to repair, the foundation’s starting projects focused on the prevention of family abandon and school drop-out. This implied offering the necessary support in order to ensure the minimal living conditions for the poor children and sustaining their parents in their efforts to obtain decent jobs. Our experience then showed that assuring minimal living conditions to the families and counseling them, decrease the risk of family abandon and school drop-out, but it’s not sufficient for a good social integration of the children in difficulty.

Consequently, in 2003, besides the program of support and assistance for the whole family (targeting the children with an increased risk of family abandon and school drop-out, with unemployed, chronically-ill or disabled parents), the foundation implemented in the Social Day Center “Florian House”, a daily schedule of educative guiding and support for the underprivileged children and youth. Through the activities unfolding in the Day Center, we aimed at fixing and completing children’s school subjects’ knowledge, and also at developing their pro-social behavior. The children were motivated and guided so to understand the school’s necessity and utility, to obtain good learning results and to regularly attend school. Their parents have been informed, guided and motivated in order to cope with the difficult tasks linked to the children’s raising and education.

In order to support the affective and moral development of the children, we have organized in the social centre a variety of attractive leisure activities (games, contests, decorative arts, painting in the Creation Atelier; vocal and dance groups; gardening; celebrations of children’s birthdays and annual religious events). Besides all these, socialization activities have been organized, such as visits to museums and exhibitions, excursions and camps with educative purposes. Thus, all our children have been stimulated to develop not only their intellectual capacities, but also their most important social abilities – communication, relationship and cooperation skills.

During these first years of activity, our specialists met in the underprivileged families they knew, many cases of children who already dropped-out from school, thus remaining  without any hope of ever being able to ensure for themselves a decent life.

Therefore, in 2006, the foundation initiated a project of school integration and reintegration dedicated to the children and youngsters of school age that either dropped-out from school or were never enrolled in it.

These children, already marked by their parents poverty, neglect or indifference, sometimes also by the family abuses, have come to know many of the street’s temptations, undeclared working or easy, illicit gains – their recovery not being at all an easy task.

The Social Day Center “Florian House” offers the children and youngsters reintegrated in school, a rigorous program of socio-psycho-pedagogical assistance aiming at motivating them for study and ensuring them a proper preparation for school and life. Due to the fact that it’s necessary to actively support these children and youngsters also after the school graduation, they benefit of professional orientation, qualification courses and then assistance in getting a job, in order to have the chance to a decent life. Those who wish to continue their studies are helped to enroll and attend high-school (at low frequencies or evening courses).

The unfolding of all JOYO Foundation’s projects and programs wouldn’t be possible without the contribution of generous sponsors and donors, dedicated to the cause of sustaining and educating the less fortunate children.