Roma national minority in the Sisak-Moslavina CountyNews

Mobile team in the Roma community

On 2 September 2015 CRP Sisak organized a field visit of the mobile team to the Roma settlement Capraške poljane. The theme of the visit was “Roma and education – through the barriers to the knowledge”.  CRP Sisak is local partner, in Sisak-moslavina County, of UNDP in the implementation of the project “Together for better – social inclusion of Roma”. Field visits of the mobile teams are a part of the project activities. Education was chosen to be the theme for the visit due to the fact that the school was soon beginning.

Beside the CRP employees, the mobile team included the representatives of UNDP, City of Sisak, Sisak-moslavina County, Centre for social welfare, active Roma NGOs and president of the Roma national minority council of the City of Sisak.

More than 50 inhabitants participated in the meeting, which proves the importance of the subject. It also shows the necessity for building the Community center in Capraške poljane, because there is no building in which meetings, trainings, educations etc. could be held.

Buying of school books and material was identified as the most important problem of Roma population in relation to education. Right to free books has been secured only for the first grade of elementary school. The students of higher grades of elementary school and high school need to buy the books by themselves. For Roma who live in Capraške poljane, and who are socially vulnerable, the cost of books and school material is too expensive, so often, many Roma children go to school without all necessary books and other equipment.  Lack of information on rights that belong to Roma from the social welfare system result in the fact that many Roma do not even use that small amount of rights that belong to them. Their request for free books are often out of deadline and incomplete. The second issue is the problem of transportation of kids from the settlement to the school. Free transport is organized only for the elementary school students, and Roma students who go to high schools need to pay for the transportation. Because of the relatively small number of the Roma students who go to high schools, CRP thinks that free transport for the Roma students need to be organizes regardless the school that they go in.

The representatives of relevant institutions, who joined the mobile team, enabled Roma to get direct information and consultations in Capraške poljane. Roma parents, who did not apply for free books, were invited to submit their requests regardless the deadline, and those whose applications were incomplete were advised to submit additional documentation. Those parents, whose kids do not have right to free books, were advised on their right to submit requests for one time financial assistance, for buying books and school materials to the City, County and Centre for social welfare.  In that way some of the costs for buying of books could be covered. The transportation issue could not be solved during the visit. CRP concluded that we would ask for the list of all Roma high school students in Sisak. When we find out the exact number of students, we will work on finding of a solution for free transportation of high schools Roma students.

We believe that this approach to Roma population is extremely effective, because in that way Roma are enabled to get free and direct information on their problems.

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