The Coordinator of the Roma Policy of the European Commission in conversation with young Roma

Roma Education Fund Representative Office in Serbia held a meeting today with the Coordinator of the Roma Policy of the European Commission Marta Garcia Fidalgo, a representative of the European Comission Chloe Berger, Project Manager at EU Delegation in Serbia Mirjana Maksimović and the manager of The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit (SIPRU) of the Government of the Republic of Serbia Dragana Jovanović Arijas.

The Coordinator of the Roma Policy of the European Commission Marta Garcia Fidalgo expressed her willingness to discuss, with young Roma beneficiaries of Roma Education Fund programs, about their experiences during educational process, challenges they were facing with while searching for a first job, about stereotypes and prejudices they encounter, how they overcame the challenges they were facing with and what are their plans for the future. Ten young Roma from different municipalities in Serbia participated in this meeting and described their experiences.

Monika Ajvazović graduated from the Faculty of Political Sciences, department social work and social policy and during her studies she was a scholar within the RMUSP program. She described the internship program of Roma Education Fund Representative Office in Serbia as a very valuable one, and emphasized the importance of such and similar programs that provide young Roma with the opportunity for improvement. On the other hand, she raised the question of the sustainability of such activities: „What happens when such programs finish? I will complete my internship and gain a social worker license, but it will be very difficult for me to find a job, and I want to work exclusively in the profession for which I was educated.“

Milan Nikolić completed his Master Degree at the Faculty of Law in Novi Sad, and since 2017 he has been employed in the Office of Commissionaire for Protection of Equality at the position of Junior Advisor in the sector for protection of equality in the complaints department. During his studies, Milan was also a scholar of the RMUSP program, and at this meeting highlighted the disadvantaged position of the Roma community in Serbia: „It is very difficult to talk about the challenges that we are facing with, knowing that Roma families in Serbia live without a roof over their heads and without basic living conditions. It is difficult to talk about any kind of inclusion and social progress, without starting from the most basic human needs.“

The Coordinator of the Roma Policy of the European Commission Marta Garcia Fidalgo thanked to young Roma for their experiences and observations. She added that it is extremely important that they continue to work on themselves and their professional development, as that being one of the ways for improving the position of the entire Roma community.