Project cycle seminar in “Topusko spa” 24- 26 September 2013

The Civil Rights Project Sisak together with its partner, Youth Association New World Luščani organized two-day seminar on the project cycle management in Topusko from 24 to 26 September 2013. The aim of this activity was to gather 20 representatives of the Roma associations and to allow them to get to know each other better, to talk about their organizations, about problems existing in the Roma community and to try to detect the common problems and recommend solutions for these problems in the community. Munir Podumljak from the Partnership for Social Development from Zagreb, who has been very successful in similar educational activities, moderated and led the seminar. The seminar was divided into two parts – two days. The first day was more about theoretical introduction to the project cycle and its basic elements, followed by discussion about Roma associations in the Sisak-Moslavina County and problems of the Roma population in their communities. Some common problems of Roma were defined and they were used in the second part of the seminar as starting point for creating new ideas on how to continue working during the education. The seminar continued on second day by working in groups. Participants were divided into three groups. The largest group consisted of young Roma activists. Each group defined five of the most important problems, according to their opinion, in their communities and for every problem they offered five solutions. Results of their joint work were presented to the other participants. Further, through the analysis of problems and offered solutions, they defined short-term and long-term goals on which they would work in order to resolve identified problems for the benefit of members in their communities. Two groups of experienced Roma representatives came to the following objectives; the long-term goal is strategic one and relates to the creation of a strategy in order to strengthen the Roma community in forming of Roma self-government with the aim to improve the quality of life and participation of Roma in decision-making in the Counties. Unanimously, it is important to improve the infrastructure in the village in the future ( road and sewer) and to find a way to build a cultural and entertainment centre in the village of Capraške poljane, for the benefit of youth activists and organizations in order to provide space for their work and activities.
Young Roma activists have also asked for construction of the shelter, or the bus stop for about 150 children and young Roma from the community. They are without protection while waiting for buses during rain and snow to take them to school. This is another reason why they come to school wet, and because of the lack of tarmac on the road, often muddy, which is not treated well in school. Because of such conditions, they are often sick. Therefore, one of the priority issues for their community in Capraške poljane is to build a proper shelter / bus stop. Taking into account that there are a significant number of pre-school children in the village, it will also be used by the next generations. An example of good practice in this segment comes from Kutina where protection for children was secured through a concrete shelter, permanent and solid, unlike the previously existing one that did not meet the criteria.
In addition to the aforementioned problems, it was noted that the knowledge of Croatian language among children was very low and it was necessary to intensify efforts to organize pre-school education. Experience from the past has shown that children that attended preschool programs achieve better results in later education and better knowledge of the Croatian language.
To facilitate the resolution of issues important to young people, they proposed to organize a sort of Youth Council in the community, i.e. their inclusion in the existing youth councils formed by the local government.
All participants expressed their satisfaction with the organization, way of work and participation in the seminar and stressed the need for future joint work in order to further strengthen the capacity of Roma associations in the Sisak- Moslavina County.

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