Roma for society

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Country/partner countries

Project lead partner/organization and contact person (e-mail, links) project website
Association for Culture, Education and Communication (ACEC)

Project information – start and end date (if available)

Summary (goals and purposes of the project)
Specific objectives of the “Roma for Society” project:

Increasing the competence potential of the group of long-term unemployed Roma from 11 selected settlements of the Prešov Region and increasing their adaptability when entering the labour market by way of providing them with quality educational programme focusing on systematic education in the field of:

1. The development of basic skills
(General training for the whole target group)

2. The development of management skills
(Specific training for Centre Coordinators)

Results of the project
During the training sessions, each participant received specific tasks that they fulfilled individually in their respective communities. By fulfilling these tasks, the participants were communicating with the local self-government, doctors, the inhabitants of the settlements and were gradually winning their trust and gaining the position of a reliable person, who can be approached in case of the need to solve urgent issues. During the monitoring period, the training participants were reaching very good results that had positive effects on all the aspects of the community life.

Trainings attended by the selected inhabitants from several communities (Roma settlements from the area of Kežmarok and the Sabinov district) led to enhancing the competence and qualification potential of the group that extended their possibilities of succeeding in the labour market. The trainings were prepared and realized according to the course approved and accredited by the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic – “Community Worker, development of skills and abilities in the work with the Roma community”. The applicants for the course were chosen based on the selection procedure which took place in Kežmarok. In total, 62 applicants took part. Among others, the criteria for their inclusion in the training process included the location where the applicant comes from and lives.

The scope of action of the training graduates is very wide, with respect to the focus of the training programme, but it also aims at the specific problems of the respective communities.

The project executors realized that after graduating from the training programme, the participants should continue to work with the community and continue in developing the acquired knowledge and skills. Therefore, it was inevitable to create positions for the community workers, which would be beneficial for the community, and, at the same time, it would strengthen the status of the workers and would then lead to positive changes. This is the reason why the Association for Culture, Education and Communication (ACEC) decided to offer the training graduates the possibility to carry out work activities in its field projects. Besides the benefit for the community, the point was to provide the graduates with further education in healthcare, to support their personal and professional growth as well as to provide the community workers and their assistants with some income.

Among the persons included in the running projects, there were 19 training graduates from the communities of Stráne pod Tatrami, Podhorany, Jurské, Krížová Ves, Spišská Belá, Ľubica , Toporec , Veľká Lomnica, Výborná, Vrbov, and Kežmarok.

16 graduates of the “Roma for Society Stage ” project joined the “Healthy Communities” project.

The project aimed at raising awareness in the area of health and the improvement of health conditions of the population in the Roma communities. It is currently running in 67 communities, while 88 Healthcare Assistants and 4 Coordinators are working in it.

By including the participants into the current projects, we have gained more space to provide further support to all individuals, as well as to monitor the application of the gained skills in practice while executing specific tasks and activities. Within the regular monitoring of locations, we also check the impact of the project from the long-term viewpoint.

The training graduates were divided in two projects, depending on their abilities, previous experience, education and motivation.

By passing the training programme, all graduates gained greater qualification and competence potential and increased their adaptability when entering the labour market.

Systematic education was focused on the general training for the whole target group and the specific training for Coordinators of community centres.

These project objectives were successfully met by actively involving the training graduates in the currently running projects - with excellent results. All the activities of the project are running directly in the respective community, the Community Assistants cooperate with the local community centres, or they work there directly at the position of a Community Worker or a Community Worker Assistant. Besides the activities in the communities and working with the local population, the healthcare Assistants communicate with the Municipal Office and participate in the activities which take place in elementary schools, they also communicate with pediatricians, GPs and specialized doctors. Communication with the self-government, schools, and doctors contributes to Roma integration and to overcoming communication barriers.

Recently, we have registered an increased ratio of employing the trained community workers at municipal offices. During job interviews that took place in July and August 2008, the applicants submitted the certificate of graduation of the course titled “Community worker, development of skills and knowledge in the work with the Roma community” and presented their competence and experience in community work, which helped them get the job. Some of them are currently attending secondary schools to complete their secondary level of education.

With respect to the demanding field conditions and a lot of time that has lapsed since the end of the educational programme of Stage (August 2007), we consider the results of the project to be exceptional from the viewpoint of long-term sustainability.

Who will benefit from this project (target group)
The selected target group - the long-term unemployed Roma with elementary or perhaps vocational education – belongs to the set of socially disadvantaged groups. This group is one of the most at risk when it comes to its integration and inclusion into the society and possible assertion at the labour market. The selected locations are specific – no similar activities have been carried out here yet, and no communication with the local authorities and self-governments was initiated from the Roma part. With this project, we provide the target group with the possibility to change their situation and improve the quality of their environment. Since the level of education and work habits in this group are minimum, the trainings, courses and regular meetings are the only possibility of changing things and extending their personal limits. Educational centres need skilled Coordinators and their Assistants, who will be able to manage the organization and carry out further educational and awareness activities.

Sources of funding
Association for culture, education and communication (ACEC)