The AMAL program

For most omamas, Slovak is not their mother language. Thanks to regular training and supervision, we noticed that they need to improve their reading, vocabulary and writing in Slovak. Since reading a children’s book is part of almost every lesson with children, omamas must read the text correctly, understand it, present it to the child in an engaging way and show the mother how important reading is for imagination and vocabulary. And so the AMAL language support program was born.

In the pilot phase, in 2020, we created materials with experts and set the program according to the needs of omamas. From September 2021, volunteers also lead individual conversation classes with omamas. They imagine various topics, listen, write, read, talk. In 2022, we created our own handbook with basic information for coordinating the program, revised and expanded the teaching materials to include topics related to omama’s work and emotional literacy.

What do omamas say?

At first I couldn’t speak, I was shy, but since I started going to Slovak language, I have improved and even now I can speak Slovak.



I am proud of myself that I can talk, that I am not afraid, that I can explain, that I know more words in Slovak, that I speak better when talking to strangers. at the doctor’s office, at school, when I was filling out papers for my husband for work.



I am more confident, I am not ashamed of my grammatical mistakes. Because it’s never too late to learn new things, in my opinion. The main thing is the good feeling that I learned new things.



I am proud that other people praise me, that I am a completely different woman. When I go to training, I’m not shy to talk and I can adapt.



We tested the narrative skills of the women involved


In the summer of 2022, 30 grandmothers and women from the communities took part in testing language skills and 23 of them in testing narrative skills under the guidance of associate professor Svetlana Kapalková in the Roma and Slovak languages.


The results of the testing helped us to adapt the content of the lessons according to the needs of the participants and to include in the course exercises to develop the areas in which they need to improve. The testing showed a definite shift in the fluency of expression, but we still need to work on the description of internal states and understanding.

The questionnaire showed that 90% of volunteers (31 out of 35 who filled out the questionnaire) reported a better understanding of the topic of generational poverty and 90% of the women involved from the communities (36 out of 40) reported improved IT skills and better work with information. In the narrative testing, 84% of the participating women from the communities improved in at least one of the tested areas, and in the language testing, 67% of them improved or performed the same compared to the first testing, and only one (0.01%) scored lower.

What did the Slovak lessons give me

My name is Monika Gažiova and I have been working at Cesta von since June 30, 2021. 06. I work in Košice on the Lunik 9 housing estate as a omama. In the program, I have 20 children aged from 0 to 3 years, whom I take care of every day of the working week. Being a omama is the first job I’ve ever done. Even though I’m educated, I never used my profession, it didn’t fulfill me, but my work fulfilled me, and for me it also makes sense to help the most vulnerable, which are children.


Why did I join the Amal program? Because I wanted to expand my vocabulary, better understand the lectures at the training and read with comprehension. The Amal program also taught me that I don’t have to worry about giving a wrong answer and not being given a chance to correct the mistake I made. I am sure that I want to continue with the program because I want to expand my vocabulary and my knowledge.



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How to get involved as a volunteer

Volunteers conduct individual conversation classes with omamas and women from the communities once a week based on materials prepared by the program’s lecturers. Shared classes create a safe and stimulating space where participants can express themselves, discuss and learn. Each volunteer works with one omama or woman from the community. The job requires patience, openness and experience in learning or teaching the language, but you do not have to be a Slovak teacher.


If you are interested in volunteering, contact us by email:


We are always looking for new volunteers before the start of the next cycle – in January and July. Recruitment takes place in the form of interviews, where we find out whether our expectations and yours are in line.

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