Press Release for the Civil Society Prize

The gold Civil Society Prize of the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels (EESC) was awarded yesterday to ETP Slovakia – Centre for Sustainable Development.

The prize is €15 000.  Two silver prizes were awarded to the Czech organization IQ Roma servis and to the Reverend Archimandrite Athinagoras Loukataris from Greece, both of them receiving 7 500 €.

The winning project Building Hope helps motivated young families from segregated Slovak Roma communities to build their homes legally and from their own savings and microloans.

The prize was accepted by the Director of ETP Slovakia – Centre for Sustainable Development, Slávka Mačáková, Mr. Onrej Sameľ, who has been helping the builders throughout the project, and Mr. Milan Gašpar, one of the active builders from Rankovce.

The Civil Society Prize has been awarded since 2006 to Non-Governmental Associations and individuals who significantly contribute to supporting European identity and integration.This year the awards were for initiatives aimed at Roma integration. 81 organizations and individuals from throughout Europe applied for the prize, with 8 reaching the final stage. The international Jury was chaired by the EESC President Henri Malosse.

The Civil Society Prize is not the first acknowledgement of ETP´s work. The organizationthat has worked with marginalized Roma communities since 2001 received Gypsy Spirit Award in 2009 and ERSTE Foundation Prize for Social Integration in 2011.

Project Building Hope is the first in Slovakia to test the new model of self-help construction of family homes. These houses become the builders´ own property. Young people from the settlements are building them with their own hands on legally purchased and settledland, based on proper construction permits. The houses have their own bathroom and toilet facilities and are connected to electricity,water andthe sewage systems. The future home owners cover the construction costs from their own earnings and a microloan of 6200€ provided by ETP Slovakia,secured by a lien and repayable over ten years, starting once the construction iscompleted.A Construction Coordinator works on the site to help the builders.

Thanks to the Building Hope, 6 young families from Rankovce in Košice-okolie District have transformed their future. The shacks they used to live in are no longer their homes; they have exchanged them for  low-budget houses with 3E characteristics – ecological and energy efficient. Inspired by their achievement, other inhabitants from the settlement have also expressed an interest in building their own houses.

Building Hope has been implemented since 2013 and ETP Slovakia believes that the project will continue by being financed fromSlovakia´s public funds. The financial resources for the project were provided mostly by private donors.

ETP Slovakia is currently  working on seven projects: three focused on education of children and youth from segregated communities; tree education projects, two projects oriented on artistic activities and two projects aimed at financial inclusion and housing (savings and microloans programs).