EU and Roma Education Fund contribute to improvement of education and employability for Roma in BiH

Over 320 Roma children and youth and their parents in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be beneficiaries of a three-year educational project that will work on improving the position of the Roma population and increasing their opportunities for completing quality education.

The regional Project “Increased Education Opportunities for Roma Students and Roma Youth in Western Balkans and Turkey” was initiated by the Roma Education Fund (REF) and is supported through a €3 million grant from the European Union (EU), with an additional €827,000 contribution by REF.

Gianluca Vannini, Head of Section for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross Border Cooperation at the EU Delegatio to BiH underlined that the EU is fully committed to improve the position of the Roma population in BiH and has invested so far significant funds for the social economic integration of Roma community in the society. “There are still boys and girls who are either left out of the education system or drop-out at an early age, without completing even the basic, compulsory education. The project will include children from pre-school age, elementary and secondary schools and University students. This will ensure not only the better education of Roma children, but gradually create opportunities for their employment,” Vannini said.

Around 100 Roma children aged three to six in the area of Visoko municipality, as well as their parents, will be involved in early childhood development activities in order to enable access to quality mainstream preschools. In Kakanj municipality, around 80 Roma children up to 6 years of age and their parents will benefit from the newly opened Toy Library through a community-based early childhood educational program.

Pupils from 1st and 2nd grades in primary school will participate in numerous activities for accelerating school achievement, with the active involvement of parents in the educational process.

In the Zenica-Doboj Canton around 60 secondary school students will be provided with merit-based scholarships and school-based tutoring and mentoring. In addition, the young people will be inspired to continue their studies through getting to know role models from the Roma communities who have enrolled into universities.

Six university students and graduates in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be awarded scholarships and offered support towards improved academic results and employability. The activities related to tertiary education will target the municipalities of Tuzla, Kalesija, Lukavac, Gracanica, Banovici and Zivinice. The project will improve Roma students’ transition from education to employment and promote durable systemic change and desegregation of education systems.

The project has established cooperation with state and international agencies and the action will contribute to the reinforcement of policies for the critical issues surrounding Roma education and employment through the involvement of national and local decision-makers.

Implementing partner organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina are the Association Roma Support Centre “Romalen” Kakanj and Association of Roma “Euro Rom” Tuzla. The financial share from the project which will be re-granted to Bosnia and Herzegovina is around €170,000, and implementation will last until 30 June 2021.