Social Integration Programs
Since 2006 (originally under the umbrella of Slovak People in Need), we have been implementing a Social Integration Program that focuses on poverty and socially excluded Roma communities.
For a long time, we have been trying to find and apply new ways of solving problems related to socially excluded Roma localities in Slovakia – extreme poverty, long-term unemployment, low level of education, inadequate housing conditions, or tense relationship with the majority of society.
That is why we operate mainly in eastern Slovakia as there are the most excluded communities – Roma settlements. On a daily basis, we run five community centres in the Prešov and Bratislava regions – KC Roškovce (2006), KC Petrovany (2008), KC Sveržov (2009), KC Kojatice (2014) and KC Plavecký Štvrtok (2015).
Education is one of the cornerstones of our work. We do not focus only on children but on the adults as well. We educate both pre-school and school-age children in our community centres and provide tutoring for children already attending school. We also arrange for dual vocational training for children and young people so that in the future, they have a better chance of finding a good and stable job.
We also educate adults and motivate them to upskill. We provide them with training to help them acquire new skills – whether communication or manual.
Getting a job and securing education are foundations upon which we can build. However, to ensure that the money earnt is kept and used properly, we need some knowledge. That is why we also focus on financial literacy.
An essential part of building a more dignified life is a discharge of debts/debt elimination. Only after that, our clients can begin afresh, with new knowledge of how not to slip back into conditions they started in.
Public policies and the elimination of prejudice
Our work does not concentrate only on direct activities in the field. To make sustainable and meaningful change in Slovakia, a change in public policies is also necessary. Therefore, we try to push our politicians and relevant authorities to press for effective and useful change.
Last but not least, we educate both the broad public and companies to eliminate prejudices. We believe that gradually, step by step, we will work towards a more tolerant, more diverse, and better functioning society.
Another vital part of improving the quality of life is having a stable job. Many of our clients were born into generational poverty, making it very difficult to participate in the workflow. Therefore, we help Roma men and women from excluded communities acquire skills needed for a specific job, get the job, and keep it.
We organise career counselling and work with specific employers. In our innovative employment program, we have managed to employ dozens of clients.
A sturdy desk to do homework on, electricity to cast light on the books, hot water to wash up after coming home from work, and a stove to cook a hot meal for the whole family. We take all these things for granted, but many people from excluded communities can only dream about them.
The provision of housing is an element that can trigger positive change in excluded communities living in poverty and facilitate progress in other areas. Quality housing enables personal improvement and improves children’s school attendance. It also plays a part in improving health, thus, the ability to work actively.
Work in the field has shown us that the interest of mayors and families living in excluded Roma localities in self-help housing is enormous. That is why, after a pilot project in Kojatice, in September 2015, we joined forces with the Association for a Better Life and created a non-profit organisation Projekt DOM.ov, which is dedicated exclusively to the issues of housing.
Social integration may sound like a very complex term, but actually, it includes clear activities. Our colleagues here are trying to find solutions to problems related to socially excluded Roma communities in Slovakia. There are many issues and no single clear solution to them – be it poverty, long-term unemployment, low level of education, inadequate housing conditions, or strained relationships with the majority population. That is why we address these issues comprehensively, and in our community centres, we work with both adults and children.
People in Need operate five community centres:
In these community centres, we intensively work directly with local Roma communities, which we try to interconnect with Slovak society and help them. There are three employees in each of our community centres – an expert guarantor, a professional worker, and a worker. They all work together to provide complex social, educational, and community services. We prepare children for school beginning, tutor them and help them catch up on lessons they have missed. We organise various precautionary and leisure activities and try to take children out beyond the boundaries of their homes to give them a chance to see the world and find out what possibilities lie “out there”.
We teach adults financial literacy to manage their household budgets well. We provide them with financial counselling, legal aid, social counselling; we help them with housing and get a job – even those who have never worked before. We also provide community work and community rehabilitation or leisure and creative activities for all ages. When necessary, we organise fundraising events and auctions to offer material help to families in need.
Each of our community centres is unique. The communities we work with are very different, live in different conditions, and have different histories. Nonetheless, we see that long-term and comprehensive work is meaningful in each of these communities, and we celebrate every little step forward.
Naša organizácia sa od 1.9.2019 zapojila do Národného projektu Budovanie odborných kapacít na komunitnej úrovni. Tri Komunitné centrá v obciach Plavecký štvrtok, Kojatice a Sveržov poskytujú svoje služby od pondelka do piatku v čase od 8.30 – 17:00.
Where we are helping
- Ongoing Projects
- Completed projects