”The truth about the access to education is that, if it doesn’t happen at early ages, it may be too late for the future adult.”
Maria Gheorghiu is the Co-funder and Executive Director of the Romanian NGO Asociația OvidiuRo. In 2010, together with Leslie Hawke, an American Peace Corp volunteer, Maria designed and developed, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță program, aiming to bring the poorest children to kindergarten.
The pilot program proved to be so successful at increasing the attendance and outcomes at high-risk children that in 2015 the Romanian Parliament passed legislation financing a national program based on the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță model.
In April 2016, Maria was appointed by the Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș as State Counselor on Social Inclusion, spearheading the PM’s Anti-poverty package, and working directly with the Ministries of Education, Labor, Finance, Health, and EU Funds.
Starting January 2017, Maria has restarted her activity at OvidiuRo, continuing a battle she has never put on hold: fighting for making quality early education available to Romania’s most disadvantaged children – so they have a chance to reach their potential in life.