Roma International Week draws attention to a variety of challenges Roma and Egyptian face and calls on society to support their inclusion in developmentApr 6, 2018
A week of events was organized in Albania to mark International Roma Day. Bringing a large array of partners and Roma communities together, activities aimed to recognize the unique contribution of Roma in the Albanian society, celebrate Roma culture and values and raise awareness about the many challenges they face.
Public services providers and key actors engaged in providing social services for vulnerable groups at the multifunctional community centers in Tirana, Berat, Durres, and Shkoder, representatives of the Government, civil society and citizens came together to discuss best practices of the new pilot model of Integrated Community Based Social Services which amongst others, address the needs of Roma and Egyptian communities. This innovative pilot model developed based on best practices in Albania and abroad, aims to increase access of vulnerable groups, including Roma and Egyptians to social services. This Model aims at increasing access to social services and make public service delivery citizen-centric.
Beneficiaries of this intervention include 300 Roma and Egyptian families. 467 Roma and Egyptians have been supported to obtain health cards and access free primary health care services: 36 children have been registered in civic registry, 140 Roma and Egyptians obtained ID cards- to mention just a few results.
The event was a good oportunity for stakeholders to analyze and coordinate joint efforts for improving policies and practices for transforming the way integrated social services are provided for vulnerable groups at the local level.
Mr. Stephen Stork of the EU in Albania, present at the event underlined:” We are all aware that Roma and Egyptian families are less likely to meet the eligibility criteria for public and social services. Despite all the efforts, many Roma still live in poverty, social exclusion, and with limited access to quality education, health care, decent employment opportunities and substandard housing and living conditions. That’s why for reducing inequalities, the Economic and Social Empowerment for Roma and Egyptians project, works closely with the municipalities of Tirana, Durres, Shkodra and Berat to improve access of Roma and Egyptians to basic equitable, inclusive and decentralized public and social services, in line with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights”.
International Roma Day celebrations culminated with the lighting up the facade of the University of Tirana with the Roma flag as a sign of support to Roma inclusion in Albania.
Representatives of Local Government, civil society organizations, academia and development partners, citizens and Roma activists joined to celebrate Roma Culture and draw attention to the challenges this community face.
These activities are organized as part of "Economic and Social Empowerment for Roma and Egyptians- a booster for social inclusion" project – a multi-sectorial and multi-stakeholder EU funded intervention that works to promote the economic and social empowerment of Roma and Egyptian communities in Albania focusing in the municipalities of Tirana, Durres, Shkodra and Berat. The project relies on the Roma and Egyptian community led development as well close partnership with central and local authorities in the targeted areas. The project supports the Government of Albania in its efforts to achieve the objectives set forth in the National Action Plan for the Integration of Roma and Egyptians, 2016-2020, while promoting respect for human rights, gender mainstreaming and intercultural dialogue, as prerequisites for the country’s EU integration.