Social Integration Programs
Poverty and socially excluded Roma communities are the focus of the Social Integration Programs, which we have been implementing since 2006 (originally under the heading of the Slovak branch of People in Need).
For a long time, we have been trying to find and apply new ways of solving problems related to the issue of socially excluded Roma localities in Slovakia – extreme poverty, long-term unemployment, low level of education, inadequate living conditions or strained relations with the majority society.
This is also why we operate mainly in the area of eastern Slovakia, where the most excluded locations – Roma settlements – are concentrated. On a daily basis, we operate five community centers in the Prešov and Bratislava regions – KC Roškovce (2006), KC Petrovany (2008), KC Sveržov (2009), KC Kojatice (2014) and KC Plavecký Štvrtok (2015).
See the outputs of the project Better public policies for marginalized Roma communities, in the framework of which we developed an extensive series of recommendations and methodologies to improve the integration of excluded Roma communities in Slovakia.
EducationEducation is one of the fundamental pillars of our work. We are dedicated not only to children, but also to adults. In our community centers, we educate children of preschool and school age and provide tutoring for children who already go to school. We also provide dual vocational education to children and young people so that they have a better chance of finding a good and stable job in the future. We also educate adults and motivate them to improve their qualifications. We provide them with various trainings to acquire new skills – either communication or manual.
Financial literacyGetting a job and securing an education are the foundations on which to build further. However, certain knowledge is also required in order to maintain and properly use the earned funds. As part of our work, we therefore also focus on financial literacy. An important part of building a more dignified life is also debt relief. Only after that our clients can start anew and with new knowledge, how not to slip back into the conditions in which they started.
Public policies and the elimination of prejudiceOur work is not only focused on direct activities in the field. In order for a sustainable and meaningful change to take place in Slovakia, a change in public policies is also necessary. As part of our activity, we therefore also try to put pressure on politicians and relevant authorities to promote effective and useful changes. Last but not least, we also educate the public or companies and try to remove prejudices. We believe that gradually, step by step, we will work towards a more tolerant, diverse and functioning society.
Job counselingAnother important part of improving the quality of life is stable work. Many of our clients were born into generational poverty, which makes it very difficult to get involved in the work process. We therefore help Romani men and women from excluded communities to acquire the skills necessary for a specific job, to obtain employment and to keep it. We organize career counseling and cooperate with specific employers. In our innovative program for employment, we have already managed to employ dozens of clients in this way.
HousingA standing desk for writing homework, electricity for reading books, hot water for washing after work and a stove for cooking a warm meal for the whole family. We all might take these things for granted, but for people from excluded communities it is often just a wish. In excluded communities living in poverty, housing security is an element that can trigger positive change and facilitate progress in other areas. Quality housing enables personal development and increases children’s school attendance. High-quality housing is also a factor for improving the state of health and thus also the ability to work actively. In the field, it became clear to us that the interest of mayors and families living in excluded Roma localities in self-help provision of housing is huge. Therefore, in September 2015, after a pilot project in Kojatice, we joined forces with the Association for a better life and created the non-profit organization Projekt DOM.ov, which is dedicated exclusively to housing issues.
Social integration may seem like a complex term, but it actually includes quite clear activities. Our colleagues are looking for solutions to problems related to socially excluded Roma communities in Slovakia. These problems are many and do not have one clear solution, be it poverty, long-term unemployment, low level of education, inadequate housing conditions or strained relations with the majority population. That is why we deal with these problems comprehensively and in our community centers we deal with both children and adults.
People in Need operates five community centers:
Where we are helping
- Ongoing Projects
- Completed projects
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