Department of National Minorities under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania has started the third phase of the project “Lithuanian Roma platforms – going local”.
In order to address Roma issues of integration, social inclusion, education, health, employment and a smoother dialogue between Roma and local authorities, coordinators-mediators work in Vilnius, Jonava and Kybartai. As on 2009 has started the process of Vilnius Kirtimai encampment residents’ eviction, there is a great need for accommodation. Considering this situation, Vilnius coordinator is mainly focused on finding housing. Coordinators in Jonava and Kybartai will act considering the needs of Roma community people.
Responding to the needs and issues of the Roma community, seminars and training for Roma women and young people, activities for children, a workshop on Roma genocide for teachers, meetings with local authorities and the Roma community in the municipalities are foreseen.
In addition, in order to assess the change of the Roma community situation, according to the objectives of the Action Plan for the Integration of Roma into Lithuanian Society 2015-2020, it is planned to conduct a comparative analysis study.
During the first two years of the project, coordinators-mediators in the project has succeeded while addressing the problems faced by the Roma community members, as well smoother cooperation with municipalities were established. While implementing project, there were provided trainings for educational staff working with Roma children, educators gained specific knowledge about the characteristics of Roma children education. Greater attention has been paid to Roma women, while encouraging them to take on leadership roles.
It is important to note that the project activities are not only aimed to empower members of the Roma community while addressing Roma issues, developing new or strengthening existing skills, but also it is focused on education and information provision to the wider society.
Since 2016, Department of National Minorities under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania has been implementing EU funded project “Lithuanian Roma platforms – going local”. The third phase of the project will run until 15th of August 2020. The project budget: € 68,000.
After the successful completion of the first phase of the project, European Commission has funded the continuation of the project for the Roma integration into Lithuanian society. In July 2017, a grant of 65 000 Euros has been allocated in order to continue the project.
During the implementation of the second part of the project it is planned to employ trained coordinators – intermediaries between the Roma community and municipalities who will work in Vilnius, Panevėžys, Jonava, Marijampolė, Kybartai and Eišiškės. They will help the Roma to communicate with representatives of state institutions, assist the Roma in dealing with issues in public and private institutions, help solve other daily life issues, and implement education and prevention programs.
It is also planned to organize a seminar for Roma women and girls and events for Roma youth. In addition, trainings for educators working with Roma children will be organized. Throughout the project, meetings with Roma coordinators will be held in order to analyze the situation in municipalities.
Department of National Minorities under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania implements the projects that is dedicated to the promotion of the cooperation between Roma communities and local municipalities as well as ensure mutual dialog in solving issues relevant to the Roma ethnic minority, including social inclusions, education, healthcare, culture.
On September 1, 2016, trained representatives of the Roma communities started working with five Lithuanian municipalities; they are described as mediators between local Roma communities and municipal institutions.
The nature of the activity of the mediators depends on issues relevant to the Roma people. The key areas of the mediators are social, economic, cultural issues and administrative help for the Roma.
The mediators help the Roma to communicate with representatives of state institutions, assist them in dealings with public and private institutions, help solve other problems of everyday life, carry out education and prevention programs. Extra attention in the municipalities are paid to the cherishing of the Roma culture and raising public awareness.
When implementing the project in ten Lithuanian municipalities, active communication was maintained between professionals working therein, persons that supervise Roma issues, and representatives of the Roma people.
During this project, specialized trainings were held for professionals working with the Roma community: employees of municipal administrations, social workers, teachers; it also aimed to strengthen the involvement of the Roma people (especially women) in solving issues relating to their community, additionally, studies and researchs were carried out to better understand the obstacles that prevent the Roma community integration into the Lithuanian society.
The project was implemented in 2 directions: informing and educating the society and strengthening the skills and competences of the Roma.