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The reconstructed nursery No. 7 in the neighborhood Donika Kastrioti in Berat opened its doors today to 30 children of the age of 0-3-year-old half of whom are from the Roma and Egyptian communities, while 30 other children are expected to enroll. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Mrs. Ogerta Manastirliu, Minister of Health and Social Protection, Mrs. Romana Vlahutin, Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Albania, Mr. Brian J. Williams, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Albania. Participants along with parents and residents of the area visited the reconstructed premises of the nursery with comfortable conditions for the wellbeing of children and their development.

 

The reconstruction of the nursery was a priority identified by the residents of the neighborhood Donika Kastrioti and members of the Roma and Egyptian communities during the consultation process at the community counseling forums.

 

The Mayor of Berat, Mr. Petrit Sinaj, underlined: "The Municipality of Berat is working to ensure that children from categories in needy have the best conditions to prepare for preschool education. The Municipality of Berat, by a decision of the Municipal Council on April 26 of this year, has revoked the nursery fee for parents from vulnerable groups, including Roma and Egyptians, in order to offer all children conditions for a normal development".

 

The Head of EU Delegation to Albania Romana Vlahutin underlined:’ "This is a facility that will serve to the entire community, but I am especially happy that children from Roma and Egyptian community will be able to benefit. They can learn, play and enjoy like all children in Berat. Education starts from a very early age, that is why preschool education is very important."

 

Minister of Health and Social Protection highlighted:” “In the context of the National Action Plan for the Integration of Roma and Egyptians, the Albanian Government is committed to improve the living conditions of Roma and Egyptians, improve access to services and foster intercultural dialogue.

Creating opportunities for inclusion of Roma and Egyptian children as early as possible in the education cycle is the best way to integrate these communities. Such good models should be replicated”

 

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Ditmir Bushati underlined: I am very pleased to see this project financed by the European Union and implemented by UNDP.  When we talk about the European integration we tend to focus only on dates and forget about the social transformation that takes place through this process. My call is to continue to further develop this model in other municipalities to also address issues of nondiscrimination and fight against stereotypes for greater social inclusion and development”.

 

UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Brian Williams commended the decision of the Municipal Council of Berat to revoke the nursery fee for families in need. "This nursery school will welcome approximately 60 children, out of which approximately 20 children from the Roma and Egyptian community. These children will be more prepared for preschool education, which is very important for exploiting human potentials and a major step towards social inclusion of Roma and Egyptian children in the education system", said Williams.

 

After visiting the premises of the nursery school, Mimoza Bujaraj, mother of a two-year old boy, said: "These premises were damp, extremely worn out and almost non-functional. Nothing is similar to the existing building. Blessed are those children who will enjoy these colorful and lighted premises!"

 

The reconstruction of nursery No. 7 in Berat was carried out in the framework of the Project "Economic and Social Empowerment of Roma and Egyptians – a booster for Social Inclusion", funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in Albania in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.

 

"Economic and Social Empowerment for Roma and Egyptians – a boost for Social Inclusion" is a cross-sectoral project with many partners aiming to promote the economic and social empowerment of Roma and Egyptian communities in Albania, focusing on the Municipalities of Tirana, Durrës, Shkodra and Berat.

 

The project supports the Government of Albania in its efforts to achieve the objectives set out in the National Action Plan for the Integration of Roma and Egyptians, 2016-2020, promoting respect for human rights, gender integration and intercultural dialogue as prerequisites for Albania EU integration.

 

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