Conference on the Community Work in Marginalized Roma Communities

Projects Developing Communities and Community of its Way to Prosperity implemented by non-profit organizations People in Need Slovakia (PiN) and ETP Slovakia – Centre for Sustainable Development (ETP Slovakia) are the main subjects of the conference that will take place on 11th February 2015 at the Regional Office in Prešov.

Both projects are set in the environment of marginalized Roma communities (MRCs) in Košice and Prešov region and are supported by the Swiss Financial Mechanism through Ekopolis Foundation (PiN) and Government Office of the Slovak Republic (ETP Slovakia).

The aim of the conference is to present examples of good practices in the field of community development achieved by operating community centres in selected localities in two regions and it is dedicated to the representatives of local municipalities, social workers and educators, professionals, as well as laymen. The day before the conference, on the 10th February, there is a field trip organized for the attendees to show them the Community Centre in Spišské Podhradie operated by PiN and to the Community Centre in Stará Ľubovňa run by ETP Slovakia.

The conference provides an opportunity to share the experience of years of implementing verified practices and providing complex services in community centres. These include especially pre-school education, low-threshold day centre for children and families, mentoring program, career guidance and employment counseling, education activities, housing program and other support services. A discussion panel that is a part of the conference will host the representatives of the Office of the Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Government for the Roma Communities, representatives of the Implementing Agency for the Operational Programme Employment and Social Inclusion, scholars and other involved professionals.

The project of non-profit organization People in Need Slovakia Developing Communities runs from 1.9.2013 until 28.2.2015. Its aim is to support the process of community development via operating community centres in four selected localities in Prešov Self-Governing Region (Petrovany, Doľany – Roškovce, Sveržov, Spišské Podhradie). A significant part of the project was also mapping client needs that led to extending provided services to the new Prešov locality. The target groups of the project are children, youth and adults from socially disadvantaged environment, inhabitants of the selected project localities, staff members of the organization and professional public. The results of the project documents 728 social services users, including 581 children and youth clients and 147 adult clients. These services involve especially the activities of the low-threshold day centre for children and families, career guidance and employment counseling, education activities and other support services. Including the locality of Spišské Podhradie to participate in the project activities since 20.11.2014 increased the number of services users compared to the previous plan.

In the area of community work, the workers initiated an open working group involving the members of local community with the aim to engage a wide spectrum of citizens of all age groups in the discussion on the possibilities of organizing events. 30 community events that were organized during the project contributed to strengthening the relationships among the majority and the Roma minority.

A part of the project was also supervision and professional training of staff members.

The training was a significant part of the project success and it was aimed at mapping client needs, monitoring the services and facilitating a community group. These activities contributed to strengthening the orientation on the professionalization and new challenges in terms of higher quality of services provided (as well as new activities with which there is less experience).

Supervision is a quality guarantee of the work with clients that nowadays represents an inseparable part in helping professions. It is carried out by external supervisors.

During the project, we have also created a program of providing systematic intervision in the organization by way of regular work meetings of staff members on all levels of services providing (career guidance, employment counseling, low-threshold programmes for children and youth).

Project of ETP Slovakia Community on Its Way to Prosperity runs from June 2012. Its aim is to contribute to the social integration and inclusion of children from socially disadvantaged Roma communities as well as to the reduction of socio-economic differences between the majority population and the Roma minority. The project involved ten towns and municipalities: Košice-Šaca, Moldava nad Bodvou, Spišské Podhradie, Rudňany, Ostrovany, Sabinov, Stará Ľubovňa, Veľká Ida, Krompachy and Rankovce. In the community centres equipped with computers, laptops, cameras and other tools, trained professionals provide social services and organize educational and free time activities for children and youth during the whole week.

The results so far are encouraging. To name a few: Since the beginning of the project, educational activities were carried out regularly and social services were provided to 4 219 individual clients in ten community centres. The services in the community centres are available to nearly 8 000 children and adolescents from ten towns and municipalities. Among the most demanded are pre-school and school preparation, tutoring, low-threshold and extracurricular activities and mentoring. None of the children attending the pre-school preparation in the community centres were placed in specialized classes. 91% of students that enrolled in a year-long voluntary courses Financial Education and Health Awareness completed the final tests successfully. Especially noteworthy is the practical preparation of children aged three to six before their enrollment in the primary school by the effective pedagogical methods of Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment, Grunnlaget and Montessori. In order to encourage the interest and abilities of parents to dedicate their time to the development of their children of pre-school age, parents clubs run in the community centres. Thanks to the support provided, forty clients of the project found employment in the form of voluntary service, work agreement as well as permanent jobs.

Both projects were implemented thanks to the Swiss-Slovak Cooperation Programme.


Kontakty Člověk v tísní Slovensko:

Contact of People in Need Slovakia:

Contact Person: Milada Javorová


Contact of ETP Slovakia:

Contact Person: Martin Vavrinčík