The Asociatia Children’s High Level Group

The Asociatia Children’s High Level Group is a charity and non-governmental organisation registered in Romania and based in Bucharest. Former Rapporteur for Romania for the European Parliament, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne is the Chairman.

The ACHLG works with governments and local institutions to develop modern legal frameworks, institutional development, standards of professional practice and professional training.

The Edelweiss National Talents competition which is addressed to children in need, alongside the Speak Up Council of Children, and Toll Free Line for Children are projects which ACHLG has initiated.

The concept of volunteering was undermined by the previous Communist regime in Romania, where people were coerced into undertaking compulsory activity. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne initiated a Community Action Pilot Study in Craiova in 2003, and, following its success, the Romanian Government approved the introduction of a National Strategy for Community Action (NSCA) which commenced in September 2004. This strategy linked high schools with special schools and placement centres throughout the country. Subsequently, the NSCA developed further through the role of Community Action in the optional curriculum.

This amazing and revolutionary project has enabled a huge increase in the number of participants involved in regular educational activities with children with special and social needs in Romania to over 70,000 within six years. Additionally, there are special integrated events held in the various regions in Romania to celebrate this ‘bridge of communication’ and ‘partnership of learning’, including an annual National Integrated Dance Contest.

In October 2006, delegates from twelve countries attended an International Conference (‘Developing National Strategies for Community Action’) held in Bucharest to share best practice and encourage other national governments to follow Romania’s example. Similar National Strategies for Community Action have been introduced successfully in Moldova, Georgia and Armenia.

The ACHLG website can be accessed on:  www.achlg.eu