Horsemen Project Problems Identified

A number of problems were identified during the pilot phase. In Hungary the students’ have a low level of knowledge, and their disturbances in manner or behavior i.e. disorder at school, poor punctuality, taking leave without permission, undue absenteeism, have been accompanying the Project. In addition the poor material-social condition of the students in Hungary, the low-rate of unemployment benefit, the lack of adequate subsistence payments all increase the risk of students dropping out of the course at an early date. This also leads to students being involved in illegal (underground) work frequently as a means to supplementing their regular monthly income. This leads to an increase in the rate of absenteeism from school. There are also limited job possibilities in Hungary once students have completed the course, jobs mainly available in the breeding of horses. Roma people have close ties to the family and do not want to live away from home. Salaries are low and this restricts the distance to work that Roma are willing to travel.

??In Ireland there were difficulties in finding a suitable venue for module delivery in Cork. Having failed to find stable where the course could be delivered it was decided to hire the necessary equipment and animals to allow for the course to be delivered at the Traveller halting site. There were also some initial problems finding a suitable tutor but this problem was also successfully overcome. As with the other centers funding for the course is an issue and it is unlikely that the course could have been run successfully without Government funding provided through the Back To Education Initiative (BTEI).??

The fact that the module was delivered at the Traveller halting site next to the homes of the students also resulted in disruption as participants were often called away to take care of domestic issues, minding the children etc. On some occasions there were language difficulties between the Travellers and the tutor as the Travellers have their own terms for topics relating to horse-care.??

In Spain there were initial problems in finding the target group given that the Gypsy Community in Spain did not engage with the pilot phase of the module. The gypsy people in Spain present a closed group and wanted payment in respect of their participation on the Horse-care course. They also had difficulties with the participation of women on the course and possibly also with the female tutors. However this difficulty was overcome by the identification of migrant workers as an alternative group who could benefit from this module. These migrant workers come from very poor socio-economic circumstances and most have part time jobs during the time of their participation on the course.

??There were economic problems in relation to sourcing resources for module delivery. This could have implications for the future as Manos Tendidas has expressed a wish to continue delivery of their course into the future but this can only happen if sufficient funding can be acquired. The goal of encouraging members of the gypsy community in Spain to engage with the module has yet to be achieved.??

Importantly upon completion of the Horse-care module students have had some success in gaining employment. For example in Hungary five of the students have currently gained employment.

??Overall the pilot courses were a success, with students showing significant improvement in their degree of confidence, greater awareness of the opportunities open to them and a much greater knowledge of horse-care. In addition the tutors and other staff members gained invaluable experience working with the client group.?