The new social center in Rrapishta offers opportunities to Roma Communities

21 Dec 2013

imageRoma children at the opening of the Community Center in Elbasan. Credit: UNDP Albania

 

As of today, members of Rrapishta neighbourhood have their community centre. Around two hundred fifty families can make use of the services offered. The centre has a kindergarten and provides other social services such as, counselling services on health related issues, and legal advice. Thanks to this centre the community members can come together and interact with each other.

Zineb Toumi- Benjelloun, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, present at the event, amongst others highlighted: “I very am proud to be here today with the members of the community to celebrate the opening of the new centre. This centre was identified as one of the main priorities by community members themselves.  Now, 45 kids can attend pre-school education. Many children from the area can attend activities that can support their development. This will be a good opportunity for them to develop and socialize with their mainstream peers.”

Mereme Ziu a member of Roma community said: "I am very happy about the new center.Thanks to this, my children, 3 and 4 years old, can attend preschool education.  I could not attend school myself and I am very pleased that my children have this opportunity now. I want them to be educated just like their friends”.

The Minister of Social Welfare and Youth Erion Veliaj, present at the event, congratulated the community members for their new centre and highlighted the government’s commitment to advance the social inclusion agenda in the country.

The event was attended by central and local government representative, various local and international organizations and community members.

This centre is one among 20 other community based interventions implemented in several Roma neighbourhoods in the regions of Tirana, Durrës, Elbasan and Fier, benefiting around 10.000 community members.

The intervention is part of the “Empowering Vulnerable Local Communities of Albania” programme, implemented by UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA and UNV in partnership with the Ministry of Social Well-being and Youth and Municipality of Elbasan which also contributed to the construction of the centre.


The programme has assisted the most marginalized Roma and Egyptian communities and contributed to their social integration while valuing their diversity. As part of the programme interventions, the community members have been encouraged to participate in local decision-making - through identification of priorities and preparation of Community Development Plans and implementation of development works. 


Programme interventions have enabled the targeted communities to access their rights, particularly access to public services– through civil registration; community policing; establishing and strengthening network of Roma mediators in areas of health, education, and child protection as well facilitating vocational training and employment.

The programme promoted policies and institutional strengthening for social inclusion of vulnerable communities – through – capacity building and assistance to local and central government institutions; capacity building and partnership strengthening for Roma and Egyptian NGOs.
The project is implemented in four Albanian regions: Tirana, Elbasan, Fier and Durres and it is funded by the UN Trust Fund for Human Security with the support of the Government of Japan.