In the Republic of Serbia, Roma are the largest ethnic minority and remain one of the most disenfranchised communities, often facing discrimination, social exclusion and unequal access to employment, education, housing and health services.
UNDP's 2017 regional survey on the socio-economic position of Roma in the Western Balkans highlighted that although education among Roma has improved, one of the biggest challenges for the social inclusion of Roma in Serbia was the high level of unemployment.
A UNV-supported initiative in 2015 empowered young men and women from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian (RAE) community in Kosovo to start their own social entrepreneurship initiatives and advocate for community needs as “Changemakers”.
It’s a rare sunny day here in the Roma/Ashkali/Egyptian (RAE) quarter of Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje; a welcome respite from a long spell of chilly, overcast winter weather.
It’s also the perfect day to skip school. Or, if you’re not enrolled in school – as is the case for nearly 15 per cent of the school-aged children in this impoverished neighbourhood – it’s the perfect day to skip your two-hour literacy and numeracy class at the local The Ideas Partnership (TIP) centre.
In Albania, the country with the highest percentage of youth in Southeast Europe, Roma youth face heavy discrimination. Their exclusion from sports competitions, school events, vocational training and community life often has a negative impact on their self-confidence.
Plementina, Kosovo: The integration of Roma Ashkali Egyptian (RAE) is a challenging social issue for Kosovo. In Plementina, a small village in the Obliq municipality, a community of some 40 Kosovo RAE returnee families is facing very difficult living conditions since a fire broke out in their apartment building and made it inhabitable.
While they wait for the building to be repaired by the municipality and the central authorities, these families are unable to meet their daily basic needs and as a result their re-integration is severely jeopardized.
The UN Joint Programme Empowering the Vulnerable Communities (EVC) of Albania supported the social integration of the most marginalized members of the Roma amd Egyptian community.