Rankovce – A Lesson for Social Democrats

Non-governmental organization ETP Slovakia is proud to host participants from Academy for Social Democracy, supported by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and other partners, in Rankovce on Friday October 23rd, 2015. After visiting houses that have been built by our clients within the framework of self-help construction and microloans programmes, attendees are also going to pay a visit to our Community Center.

For five years the Academy has been providing key findings about social democracy and mediating its fundamental values to current, as well as future participants who mainly consist of young public officials from Slovakia and Czech Republic. Current course of the Academy called Social Democracy, Emancipation and Civic Society covers also minority issues which is the reason for their visit to Rankovce where examples of good practices can be seen.

Very favourable results in education, housing, employment, and social inclusion were achieved in Rankovce via activities of ETP Slovakia provided in cooperation with church, self-governing bodies and local non-governmental organization. We are delighted to see that the Academy for Social Democracy have found the aforementioned model of cooperation inspiring and their visit itself is a way to spread the word and replicate the model to all marginalized communities.

Since the families in Rankovce became involved in self-help and self-financed house construction programme, their motivation to search for employment and to keep their jobs has increased. While in 2013, when the self-help construction programme was launched, only two constructors from micro-loans programme had jobs; in 2015 nine of them have had regular work and another six have worked occasionally. As a result, in comparison to 2013, the State has saved in 2015 more than ten thousand euros on social benefits for sixteen families of constructors. More importantly however, the income of these households has increased by almost seventy percent; and thus, their living standard has significantly ameliorated as well.

We believe that if a given model is replicated in all six up to eight hundred marginalized communities in Slovakia and in thousands communities in European Union, all Slovak and European citizens, including Roma, will feel accepted, will feel at home here. And thus, the recent statement of Hannes Swoboda, current Austrian Social Democrat and a member of the European Parliament, in which he proclaimed that the Socialists and Democrats would “stand for a citizens’ Europe where all of us can feel at home and where discrimination of any kind is rejected” will be one step closer to become true.